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Hasitha Illa

YouTuber & Blogger

Raising Disability Awareness

“I was always a very spirited kid and loved my fun-filled activities and sports at school while growing up in the US. At the age of 10, my coach noticed I ran a little differently and conveyed it to my parents. My life took a turn as the diagnosis for my locomotor disability a long time because of its rare nature at the time.

Life taking a turn by disabling my ability to move and function disturbed me a great deal and my exclusivity at school made me very uncomfortable. All the while, there were numerous clinical trials that I was a part of in the hopes of one day finding a cure so that I could feel better but all in vain.

My mother decided to move us to India so that we could find some cure that would help my situation. The school that I was enrolled in, brought on a good change in my social life. I was no longer treated differently, nor was I looked at weird. Practising meditation helped me change my whole perspective about myself and I realized that there was more to my life than my disability. If I could not accept myself, how would anyone else?

Although I have achieved my bachelor’s in biotechnology, I decided to blog about my experience and thoughts on Social Media and felt that my personality could not just be limited to words. I am still the spirited child, on wheels!

I started my YouTube Channel so that I could connect with more people with disabilities, quickly realizing that India had a lot of awareness to achieve for those like us with regards to basic amenities like ramps and lifts. I have now become a representative for my community and there are so many just like me who just want to feel accepted for the most normal things in life.

One does not need to be treated differently just because they are different. Sometimes, acceptance is all a person needs, be it in their own minds or by others.

With my blog, channel and various memorable experiences, I have realized that we bother too much about others’ opinions rather than our own minds that we constantly debate with. How I perceived my condition was my biggest challenge and when I could finally focus on what I can do rather that what I cannot, life was easier to deal with. When we truly move past this, only then will we be truly able to achieve our goals.”

Hasitha Illa

Interviewed and transcribed by Maryam Syed


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