Anita Sharma was only 6 when a polio attack changed her life forever.
She was paralyzed waist down. Even though she grew up living a life on crutches and callipers, but her disability was never an obstacle for her free spirit.
Since her childhood, Anita never let her disability dictate her life. She loved riding the bike with support wheels. So, when she grew up, she shifted to a modified car where her hands, instead of her feet would control the accelerator, brake, and clutch.
This car became much more than her car while pursuing her PhD in Disability and Entrepreneurship at IIM-Indore – it became her backbone.
That’s when she realized how she can help differently-abled adults with their desire to live freely – by teaching them how to drive.
How her journey to heroic deeds started
While pursuing her PhD, Anita had a chance to have meet with her role model – Navin Gulia. Navin Gulia is an adventure buff, world-record holder and a philanthropist who is paralyzed from neck down.
While sharing her journey, Anita shared with TheBetterIndia:
“He was visiting our campus with some of his friends, and one of them asked me if I could teach her how to drive in my car. It was all very informal, but that’s how I began teaching,”
Post this incident, she started researching driving schools that could help out differently-abled students.
And, after contacting 2000 driving schools, what she found was highly disappointing.
Driving schools need a special license to train the differently-abled, and none of these schools had it.
So, Anita did what Heroes do! She decided to take matters in her own hand.
She started ‘On My Own’, a driving school based in Amritsar which teaches differently-abled people on both cars with both manual and automatic gears.
Talking about how the school is not only helping them to learn drive but giving them some important life skills, she said:
“Acquired disability hampers their confidence more than the disability with which they are born. It is more difficult to help them be independent if they are not confident about doing this or unable to accept the changes in their body structure.”
“So while my primary job is to teach them how to drive, in many cases, I also help them be mentally strong about this change in lifestyle,”
At IFORHER, we want to celebrate Anita for not only teaching them how to drive but showing them how to fly!
While she primarily caters to students in Amritsar, she is also open to travelling to other cities if need be. If you know someone who can benefit, you can visit their website here.