This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Vinayana Khurana. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

I Have Cerebral Palsy. It Limits Me, But It Cannot Stop Me

More from Vinayana Khurana

By Vinayana Khurana:

vinayanaAs my parents drop me to college everyday, I feel relieved. A seemingly simple task like taking an auto rickshaw by myself, fills my mind with fear. I wonder – will I ever travel alone in my city – Delhi? Neither does this city – our nation’s capital – have the accessibility nor the sensibility for people like me. On one level, I struggle because of my physical boundation. But on another level I struggle because people don’t understand that my physical limitation is just that – physical. I have cerebral palsy. It is a just a disability in the motor movements of a person. It limits me. But it cannot stop me.

This fighting spirit, I imbibed at my first school and second home – AADI (Action for Ability Development and Inclusion). This was my training ground, where I learned life’s basic techniques. Something as simple as stretching my hand to say ‘Hello’, a thing which no school teaches us. Here our teachers understood our limitations, yet, they knew that we have none.

Here I learnt that I could be an independent girl, and that if not physically, at least mentally I can compete with other children. AADI made me confident. It believed in me, more than I believe in myself. From singing and acting, to anchoring, I did it all in this school, and I still remember the powerful performances I gave on stage. Through their support. I could eventually transfer to a new school – St Mary’s, an institute with inclusive education.

St Mary’s was a different experience. Here I interacted with all types of students of my age and felt motivated to challenge myself even more. Ten years at St Mary’s made me what I am today, a courageous young woman who is not afraid to voice, her thoughts to people around her.

Yet, as I stand at the entrance of my college, every morning, I see the stark difference between my “inside” world and my “outside” world. One knows me – my weaknesses as well as my strengths, knows that I am capable. But that other world thinks I am nothing, and I wonder – why is my outside world not caring, sensitive and encouraging like my inside world, which comprises my schools, my college, my family and friends?

My friends at Vivekananda College, are a blessing; they take me from one class to another, to the canteen, and wherever they are going. It never occurs to them even once to leave me behind due to my physical limitation. Earlier I would move around on a wheelchair. However, it is difficult for my friends to constantly push around a heavy wheelchair, even though there are well-built ramps and lifts inside the campus. So, I have decided to walk, even though it can be cumbersome.

Even my teachers have helped me to go from class to class and they would fight for me, if my class was not on the ground floor. Yes, my teachers are very awesome. At first, they were not able to understand me. But they would put in extra efforts to know me and I am happy to share that my teachers listen to my views, even though I may take a little longer to articulate them.

vinayanaBut this outside world, it makes my heart sink. Many public spaces have no ramps, and if there are ramps, they are not well maintained. Let me give you an example. The other day I went out with my friends and guess what I found at the end of the ramp – a big dustbin! As a result, my wheelchair couldn’t pass through. At another location, there’s a well-built ramp on the roadside for a wheelchair. However, a stream of street shops have been built on the slide of the ramp!

Yes, ramps are being constructed but they are still not solving the problem. Sometimes there is a lift for wheelchair users. However, to get to the lift there are four stairs. How is a wheelchair user supposed to reach the lift if there is no ramp? Due to this inaccessibility, there are many occasions when I have been excluded from my friends’ plans, even though they are wonderful.

You may be under the impression that navigating a big mall on a wheelchair is easier because they have built proper infrastructure for accessibility. Yes, the mall has made all the efforts. Yet the other day I had to wait for an hour to board the lift. You know why? Because people kept streaming inside and there was no way for my wheelchair to go in.

While building ramps and lifts is a basic requirement, there’s a great need to sensitise people. My classmates in school and college, and others whose life I have touched, have become sensitive because of me and they are now able to admit that, “Yes, accessibility is required in every corner of the country.”

I was born and brought up in Delhi, and it is heartbreaking for me to acknowledge that my city is not developing according to my needs. Yet, my aspiration for Delhi is that it should develop into India’s first accessible city. My hope is that someday, I shall be able to go to a movie with my friends, or go shopping alone, without a care in the world.

Vinayana won First Prize in Vivekananda College’s Talent Hunt for differently-abled students.
I also have many dreams. I want to be a poet and a writer. I want to explore each and every bit of the world, independently. Another dream of mine is to perform once again, on stage. I want to dance more because dancing makes me happy and the movements in dance make me feel like I am free of all restraint – physical, societal as well as psychological. Despite my struggles, I want to share that life for me is a melody, one, which I want to sing joyfully, each day!

You must be to comment.
  1. shivi

    Vinayna’s candid account of the problems faced by differntly abled in the capital is shockingly unfortunate. Her courage and skills, both as a writer and dancer are commendable

  2. naveeta negi

    You are gem of a person. And I was fortunate enough to be your teacher…it had been the most amazing and wonderful experience to share some quality time and space with you dear… I wish you all the love and good wishes. Keep writing …

More from Vinayana Khurana

Similar Posts

By Vitamin Stree

By Nitya Sriram

By Youth Ki Awaaz

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below