June 23, 2021

Sharada Devi on why education is important regardless of disability

Sharada Devi is herself a hugely inspiring individual but it caught our interest when she shared recently on her social media profile on how her mother, Valsala Devi who has been a key influence in her life.

Talking to Mums and Stories over an email interaction, she shares, “My parents had brought me up just like any other ‘normal’ child.  They never gave me a feeling of being a physically challenged child.  They provided me with education at regular educational institutions, along with the so-called able-bodied students, where I passed by writing exams myself.  I have genetically weak bones because of which I had to soon depend on wheelchair.

Over the years I have made a few good friends with whom I keep that bond of friendship even today. I passed 10th and 12th with distinction from Cotton Hill Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Thiruvananthapuram. Then I took B. A and  M. A in English Language and Literature with a First class from Govt.  College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram (University of Kerala).

I have also worked as a Guest Lecturer in English at my Alma Mater Govt. College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram for a year. Presently, I am pursuing PhD in English at Institute of English, University of Kerala. My area of research is Disability Studies.

My parents have a great role in shaping the lives of me and my younger brother. It was my mother who mainly concentrated on our studies. I can say that it was she who instilled in me the spirit of competition which have helped me  to reach where I am now.

She had even quit her job for the sake of looking after me. She is not only my mother but also my teacher. A Postgraduate in English, she taught me during my college days. She instilled in me the strong will to work hard and be either on par with my fellow students or beyond them.”

Talking on how positive attitude helps in life, Sharada shares, “My parents have always strived hard to provide me a normal up bring and to inculcate in my mind an optimism about life, despite the  physical challenges I have to encounter in life. I would also recommend this to parents of children with special needs. Always make sure that you are giving your children the best education.

No differently abled child should be deprived of at least a basic education. Education will help a lot in empowering differently abled persons like me. My parents had faced lots of problems and challenges while giving me regular education, because of lack of accessibility. But they tackled them all with strong will. There will be lots of problems while educating a differently abled child but that should not deter parents from providing education to their children.

Life is a mixture of ups and downs. There will be a lot of challenges and obstacles in the course of life. But you have to always maintain a positive attitude in life. This would help you to tackle all that block your life. Faith in God and faith in ourselves – these have helped me so far. “

Mums and Stories thanks Sharada for sharing her story and we wish her the very best in life.


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