Who I Am

My name is Nisha, I am a twenty-year-old from South Africa and this is the story of how I became who I am. WARNING: My life has more twists in it than a rollercoaster.

At six months I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) – an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement. As a result of having Cerebral Palsy I am unable to walk and my right-arm has reduced functionality. Growing up I used to watch other kids playing on the playground I used to be so envious and as I grew so did my anger towards God.

When I was 13 I was diagnosed with advanced Scoliosis – a medical condition in which a person’s spine is curved from side to side – and within weeks I was on the operating table undergoing surgery in which a metal rod was placed between my vertebrae to keep them from fusing together and was subsequently bedridden for a year after that. As you can imagine being bedridden wasn’t exactly fun – I got into a mini-depression and put on a bit of weight – until a family friend of ours – who is now passed on God bless his heart – came to visit and told me I looked a little ‘plumpy’ – at first I was really hurt and then I took a good look in the mirror and realized that there might have been some truth in what he was saying and I made some changes in my life.

The year flew by in the blink of an eye and it was time for me to go back to school. I went for about a week before I realized that my body was never going to be as it was before the surgery – just sitting in class for eight hours was difficult –  so my parents pulled me out of the public school system and made alternative arrangements.

At that point in my life everything was going according to plan school was going great and everybody was healthy and ‘happy’ but, I still felt as though something was missing – like everything in my life was mediocre. I had no clue what I wanted but, I did know that I did not want to lead a mediocre life. A few weeks after I had had this profound realization I was watching The Oprah Winfrey Show – as I always did – but this particular episode featured a young woman by the name of Kendall Ciesemier -one day after watching an Oprah Winfrey special: on the AIDS epidemic in Africa she took all the money that she had, put it in and envelope and sent to WorldVision to ‘adopt’ an orphan and in 2007 Kendall founded an organization called Kids Caring 4 Kids – an organization which aims to raise awareness and money for AIDS orphans and other highly venerable kids in Africa and to inspire kids to care for others in need. My mouth literally fell open when I heard Kendall’s story but, after watching the show I switched off the TV and went on with my normal life convinced that I could never do something so spectacular.

A few weeks later, I found myself laying on my bed crying because my back was hurting and all my muscles were stiff I remember asking God: Do you love me? Do you hate me? Do you even know I exist? Why me? A gentle voice replied: Why not you? That was like a slap in the face because I always thought that God had it in for me and that response made me realize that the world didn’t revolve around me. I paused for a moment before I asked: Why am I here? The gentle voice again replied: To show the world that anybody can make a difference and change the world. I remember thinking to myself: I can’t even go the bathroom by myself how in the hell does he expect me to change the world and then as if on cue I had a flashback to Kendall’s story and what Oprah said to one of her other guest’s once Kendall left the stage: Kendall is proof of what people can do from their hospital beds even – Kendall had just undergone a liver transplant and she asked her visitors to ‘adopt’ an orphan instead of bringing her flowers and candy. Watching that show and hearing Kendall’s story taught me that to change your reality all you have to do is shift your perception and that is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

A few months later I tried to raise $1 000 for a well -known organization called UNICEF – long story short I only raised $5 for the most part because I was naive an didn’t know what the hell I was doing. However, that experience did teach me what not to do and on March 5th 2010 I started my Clean Water for All Campaign. The objectives of the campaign are as follows:

  • To raise $6 500 for The Water Project, Inc – an organization that provides clean water to communities all over the world who suffer needlessly without it – by March 5th 2012 and  build a well somewhere in the  world.
  • To highlight the plight of those who don’t have easy access to clean water.
  • To prove to the world that anybody can make a difference and change the world – even me: a twenty-year-old girl in a wheelchair.

Log onto http://www.firstgiving.com/nishavarghese,   make a contribution to my Clean Water for All Campaign and be the change you want to see. I’ve raised $5 269.44 so far 🙂


25 responses to “Who I Am

  1. I like it. Keep sharing life’s experiences 🙂 Thumbs up.

  2. Nisha.
    I am very impressed and very moved by your story. You have come a long way from the little girl who blamed God for her troubles to a young woman who is determined to make her mark on the world. I am especially impressed by your story of the back surgery. I know exactly what you felt like after that surgery because I went through something similar – not nearly as severe as yours, but enough to give me a taste of the pain, frustration, and disillusionment you suffered.

    However, your story is also a very grand one in terms of your accomplishments. Since you have in fact realized that to change your reality is simply a matter of shifting your perception and adjusting your goals accordingly, then you have reached a point in your life mentally, emotionally and psychologically that most adults – even adults my own age (65) – have yet to realize, and as far as I’m concerned, you have already made your mark on my world and changed my outlook and my hope for the future, and that is that we will see many more young people with your wisdom and your commitment to make a difference. I will make a donation to your drive, and I will mark your organization on my calendar to receive a donation annually from me and the family and friends I can influence.

    God Bless you Nisha, always and forever more. I send you my best wishes, my admiration and my love.
    Steve Opperman
    gloxpolguard on Twitter

  3. Awesome spirit, inspiring one to do better in ones own life, I commend you Nisha. ❤▄❤º°¨¨¨°

  4. I, too, am very moved by your words and deeds and the obstacles that you face while doing such good works. Keep up the great spirit!

  5. Hi Nisha
    I also write a blog and switched to the same supplier you use after checked yours out 6 weeks ago. Today’s blog is called Mirsha and for some reason, I thought of you. You can check it out at http://freedom4humanity.wordpress.com
    I believe beautiful and beneficial change is coming and all you presently desire will be given you, plus much more.
    Love and Blessings
    John Ross

  6. Nisha – you totally inspire even a handicapped guy like myself; know that you are loved for what you do, as well as your attitude – ❤ -db 😉

  7. Happy Birthday, Nisha! May you inspire a million hearts to join you in making a better world.

  8. Nisha, you are a true inspiration. You show others what is possible. Often our attitude toward God and our own lives is the only thing that we can change. I have been to southern India 3 times and know how important clean water is. Thank you for the work that you do.

    • Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I agree… the only thing preventing us from creating the reality we desire is our perception.

      Yours truly,

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  10. You’re my new hero, Nisha. Thanks for inspiring me and being the change you are.

    • Aww… that’s very sweet of you to say, Shivya. I’m glad I’ve inspired you hopefully you can pay-it-forward by inspiring somebody else 🙂

      Yours truly,

  11. May I ask if you still live in Africa? Also I think that it takes alot of courage to talk about your feeling and life and stuff, I know this as everyone else In my family don’t understand me or my feelings and just tell me I’m pathetic if I try to. So not being able to talk about things I want makes me frustrated with myself. And after reading you second post, I’d like to see what you think and why. Thanks for the time and the interesting blog. Would have wrote more but on the phone atm.

    • Yes I still live in Africa, South Africa to be precise and as for your family I think that they are just not used to being around people who express their feelings but whatever their reasons they have NO RIGHT to call you pathetic because you are not nor will you ever be pathetic 🙂

      Yours truly,

      PS. if you ever need to talk you can email me at adventuresofme@hotmail.co.za or if you don’t feel like talking to anybody you could always try writing down how you feel in a diary it works for me 🙂

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  16. Brilliant! You are truly an inspiration! I wish you all the best for your campaign and life always! God bless!

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