Divya Sharma is a visually challenged person with 75% vision impairment. She is a senior content writer in a web development and SEO Private Sector Company, an RJ and content manager in an online radio station ‘Radio Udaan’ (Voluntarily started and run by visually challenged people), a disability activist, a motivational speaker, a contributor to magazines & newspapers, a Blue belt holder in Karate and a guitarist. She can’t read text or anything written on paper or screen and does everything through listening to screen readers.
Up to class 7th, she went to a mainstream school with her twin sister. She was permitted to sit in a classroom and pass in every class on the basis of an oral test of some chapters. In class 8th, she was told to leave the school and was denied admission by all other schools in the area. But her family stood by her side and encouraged her in her endeavours and decisions. She appeared in class 10th board exams as a private candidate and scored 80% marks. She appeared in all further exams correspondently and finally did Masters in English from Panjab University. During her graduation and post-graduation, she worked hard on her technology skills. She learned about JAWS and other screen readers. From working effectively on the laptop to manage networking sites, posting blogs and writing for magazines, everything she did in her small town, Naya Nangal.
Divya holds three weekly shows on Radio Udaan namely: ‘Inspirational Wings Season 4’, ‘Vocabulary Dose’ and ‘Mystery of 26’ to spread optimism in the lives of people and to empower them. Another initiative by her is conducting ‘Sensitizing Sessions’ in schools and institutions in her area so as to spread a word about disability and advancements among students and faculty. She carries a laptop along with her and gives them demos. She talks about disability & how it is misinterpreted and gives step-by-step information about screen readers. She makes sure to convey her message that PWDs don’t need words of sympathy but what needed is inclusion. She tells them that if they help a PWD, they shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help from him. One shouldn’t have a prejudice that a disabled person can’t help others.
Divya was invited by an NGO ‘Umang Foundation’ to address a press conference at Shimla in April 2014. They wanted to spread a word in the state about the possibilities in technology advancements taking place. The impact of the conference was such that many visually impaired students came up and enrolled themselves in education institutions.
Divya aims at getting Black Belt in Karate and prove that a visually impaired girl can do it. So far, she has achieved yellow, orange, green and blue belts. Her disability-related write-ups are published in various magazines and newspapers. She is a senior content writer in a Mohali based company & works from home.
Divya has received NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Award-2016 and Punjab State Award 2016 for her contribution in the field of disability. Besides these, she gave a motivational session in the First international film festival for persons with disabilities held in New Delhi in 2015.
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