A Bomb Blast Survivor, A Bilateral Amputee, A Social Worker And A Motivational speaker – Malvika Iyer
29 June 2017
Why do we humans think to end our lives if we have met with a terrifying incident? Is it because we are afraid of the society? Is it because we have no courage to face the world?
Proving all these wrong, today our story is about a woman who considers her disability as her ability. Meet Malvika Iyer who is a bilateral amputee, a bomb blast survivor, a social worker, and a PhD scholar.
Being born in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu to B. Krishnan and Hema Krishnan, Malvika grew up in Bikaner, Rajasthan. Her father worked as an engineer at the Water Works Department at Bikaner and so they had to leave their native place and move to the city of colours.
On 26 May 2002, when she was just thirteen years old, she lost both her hands in a grenade explosion at her home in Bikaner and sustained severe injuries to both her legs including multiple fractures, nerve paralysis and hypoesthesia.
This incident made Malvika hospitalised for eighteen months in Chennai which included various surgeries. Recovering and healing the wounds, she began to walk with the aid of crutches and was fitted with prosthetic hands.
For any other person, it would have been a hopeless life. The factors of reliability and dependency would crawl in. However, it was the strong will of Malvika which made her strong and didn’t let her lose her spirits.
Following her hospitalisation, Malvika Iyer appeared for the SSLC examination as a private candidate in Chennai. With the help of a scribe, she wrote her examination and secured a state rank among the private candidates. This made her recognised and gained public attention. People read about her clearing the examination in media and newspaper.
Malvika was then invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan by our former President, Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam.
All of this happening, made her more enthusiastic to study more and so she moved to New Delhi, where she studied Economics (Honors) at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. She even pursued Masters in Social Work at the Delhi School of Social Work.
Her journey of studying didn’t end here. She then went to do her M.Phil. In Social Work at the Madras School of Social Work. Malvika Iyer secured first class with distinction and also won the ‘Rolling Cup’ for the Best M.Phil. Thesis in 2012, which was titled Quality of Life of Individuals with Orthopedic Disability in Rehabilitation Centres in Chennai.
Ms Iyer’s desire to study and acquire knowledge made her a known figure in society and it glorified her life in different aspects. Ms Iyer was invited to speak at the TEDxYouth@Chennai in 2013.
And soon she was recognised as a motivational speaker and trainer and she made it as her career. Malvika has delivered speeches at IIM Kozhikode, Norway, Indonesia and South Africa.
Our Woman of Courage Malvika urged the need for universal design, accessible public spaces and participation of disabled youth in promoting inclusive elections. She did all of these through her motivational talks and sensitization workshops in schools, colleges, private establishments, non-governmental organisations and youth forums.
She is working very hard to create awareness on disability. Malvika is not doing so because she herself is a disable but because she knows that disabled are capable of doing everything. They are no different than other human beings. It is just a mental belief which we have set in our minds against the disabled people.
Malvika Iyer has created awareness on positive body image and elimination of discriminatory attitudes towards disabled people through social media campaigns. It is wrong to discriminate the disable just because they don’t look like other so called ‘normal’ humans.
Malvika is a strong supporter and an advocate for accessible fashion. She walked the ramp as a showstopper for NIFT and Ability Foundation in Chennai where she emphasised the need for designing clothes with functionality and style for people with disability.
When we asked Malvika about her source of motivation, she said, “My family, friends and everyone who treats people with disabilities equally are my sources of motivation.”
Malvika Iyer is a Woman of Courage because she didn’t succumb to her fate; instead, she rose up like a Phoenix from the ashes and fought for herself.
Malvika has been a role model for many people. Being a motivational speaker, she has achieved success in making people believe in their inner strengths. Her passion and great efforts for making an ideal world are truly an inspiration for everyone.
Even a person with all abilities is disabled and a disabled is capable of all the abilities. It’s all about the strength you possess and the courage that lies within you.
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