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Meet The Three Wondrous Women On Wheelchairs Who Are Redefining Beauty!

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The Atypical Family is abundant with stories of all kinds. Stories of courage, inspiration, beauty, flow, and resilience. In this blog, we have featured three such exemplary stories. Three women, three individuals with the same disability but three entirely different perspectives and unique life experiences, each one with power in its own light and all three an inspiration for us all.

Nisha Gupta: ‘The Power Of Acceptance’

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Despite the concern and reservations that her family and friends had about her passion and pursuit of sports, Nisha Gupta went forth and never gave up.

And then I realized that this is my new life which I must accept and take on as a challenge. Slowly, but surely, I started to conquer, one day at a time,” said Nisha Gupta.

What truly saved Nisha’s life was not her spinal cord operation in 2004 but in fact one shining moment of acceptance after 4 long, tiresome years of hopelessness and denial. And then she was unstoppable, she accepted the reality of her life after attending an enlightening session on ‘independence after spinal cord injury’ and turned it into a dream.

Despite the concern and reservations that her family and friends had about her passion and pursuit of sports, she went forth and never gave up. This led her to win Gold and Silver medals at the State and National Para-Swimming Competitions, Gold medals in the National wheelchair Basketball Championship, participated in marathons, among many other things.

The journey from a restless hyperactive kid who ran all around the house to a young girl who found herself chained to a seat and now, a formidable young woman who travels and tours all around the country, doing and conquering whatever she puts her mind to, Nisha’s life has come a full circle.

Stories like that of Nisha, tell us that if we truly accept what is and decide to make the best of it, there really are no limitations to what we can achieve.

Give your campaign a boost of authenticity and athletic charm with Nisha’s fiery flair for posing!

Dhanya Ravi: ‘The Power Of Compassion’

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Dhanya’s story tells us that our innate humanity is in fact our biggest strength and support in this world.

I think my bones broke but I have never been broken,” says Dhanya who is also known as the ‘Glass woman’.

She might be born with a rare genetic disorder, but she refuses to hold back and live on the sidelines. She has transformed herself into light. Her meetings with various personalities like Dr APJ Kalam and Sadhguru taught her that people can truly be touched by just simply understanding and accepting them for who they are. With her numerous public talks and awareness programs, she is trying to do just that, understand herself and making others understand the voice of people with her condition.

It is just soul-soothing to witness a human being whose biggest motivation is the betterment and upliftment of other human beings. Dhanya’s story tells us that our innate humanity is in fact our biggest strength and support in this world.

For capturing the very energy of compassion and strength in your pictures, star the Glass woman in your portfolio!

Priya Bhargava: ‘The Power Of Hustle’

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I grew up watching beauty pageants like Miss World, Miss India, etc. and always wanted to be there, in those pageants, in those lights, feeling pretty but I never thought about winning them! How could I?”

Priya always knew where she wanted to go but her illness crept in on her, debilitating self-doubt and disbelief. And to all these self-critical thoughts, she responded like the champion that she is! “I took my selection in the top 7 finalists as a challenge. I worked on my weight, appearance, self-confidence, speaking skills, stage phobia, and later on, won the title.” An ardent believer in the power of hard work and pushing one’s limits, Priya has always been a fighter. Her inner warrior didn’t only lead her to the title of Miss Wheelchair India but also helped her achieve two professional degrees, in Computer and Psychology, respectively.

Her own life is the biggest example of the idea that she preaches and practices, “If you truly give it your all, you will achieve it.” When one looks at her life from a different perspective, they get a glimpse of the unstoppable and unlimited power that lies in just working for your wildest dreams with faith and confidence. Because our goals might appear far-fetched but there’s definitely a way to achieving them, which is paved with hard work and will power. If we all can just set out on this path of determination and hard work, we can undoubtedly achieve all our ‘crazy, unbelievable’ dreams, just like Priya!

Send a powerful message with tons of grace with Atypical’s Priya Bhargava!

Nisha with her athletic spirit, Dhanya with her angelic social endeavours, and Priya with her luminous accolades are calling out to us to find the power within us and persist when we do!

The quintessential spirit of Atypical Advantage is the numerous stories of inspiration, achievement, and everything that goes in between. We are a family of seekers, achievers, travellers, and posers who got tougher when life got tough!

Hire these Wondrous Women for your campaigns, events, Fashion show, product shoots and redefine Beauty here.

Atypical Advantage is Planet’s first Talent platform for people with Disabilities. Explore our website to Hire Talent for an event, shop items made by people with disabilities, dazzle yourself with the Art collection, sign up for MentorshipRead Humans of Atypical stories, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, volunteer with us or feel free to contribute here.

Until next time,
Your Atypical Buddy!

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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.

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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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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.

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