- Date : 23/01/2018
- Read: 4 mins
There are some who stay silent and bear, then there are those who speak up and fight. Get inspired by the stories of these 'women of steel'.
“Heroes are people who have given their lives to something bigger than themselves.”
All of us face challenges. But how many of us don’t give up and use those challenges to our advantage? Those who do, become an inspiration for all of us.
Fortunately, the world has a lot of examples of such inspiring souls. On the occasion of National Girl Child Day, let’s talk about women who not only fought all the odds and emerged as winners but are also making the world a better place in their own way.
Who knew that a teenager born in the volatile Swat District of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province will go on to write a new chapter in the struggle against the suppression of women and children?
Her journey of human rights advocacy began with protesting against local Taliban barring girls from attending school. Her story became an international sensation after a Taliban gunman shot her in a murder attempt. Everyone’s prayers were answered, and she recovered from the attack. Malala is the youngest to have been awarded the Nobel Prize in 2014 when she was just 17 years old.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world,” says Malala in her memoir I am Malala. Malala’s story is that of grit, courage along with an unwavering belief in doing good to others.
Last year, Delhi saw 18 incidences of acid attack. However, this number doesn’t paint the correct picture as these incidences are just the ones wherein the victims registered reports against perpetrators.
Laxmi Agarwal is one such victim of an acid attack which happened in 2015 in Delhi. At that time, Laxmi was a 15-year-old teenager. This unfortunate incident left her scarred – both physically and emotionally – for life. Not being the one to give up, she sought the support of many acid victims and filed a petition to curb acid sales in the Supreme Court of India.
For her commendable work in helping acid attack victims, Laxmi received the International Women of Courage Award from the then U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama. Today, Chhanv Foundation – an NGO run by Laxmi - is the hope and voice of acid attack victims all over the world.
When Arunima Sinha boarded the Padmavati Express train at Lucknow on 12 April 2011, little did she know that the day would turn her whole life upside down. A group of robbers, trying to steal her bag and gold chain, pushed Arunima out of the moving train when she resisted. She has sustained serious injuries and the doctors had to amputate her leg.
Post this incident, Arunima surprised everyone by resolving to climb the Mount Everest. She signed up for training under Bachendri Pal - first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest – in 2011. Two years later, Arunima turned the impossible into possible when she became the first Indian amputee to climb the Mount Everest.
Instead of being discouraged by her, she crossed all obstacles in her way and went to etch her name India’s history.
In the ninth month of her pregnancy, Sindhutai was thrown out of her home by her husband. She gave birth to a girl – her fourth child after three sons - in a cow shelter. When even her mother refused to give help her, she started begging on railway platforms. The sight of orphaned children on those platforms moved Sindhutai and she decided to look after them.
Today, Sindhutai is affectionately known as the "Mother of Orphans" and has adopted and nurtured 1400 orphans (as of 2014). She is the recipient of close to 500 awards.
Born in a poor family of rural Manipur, Mary always dreamed of becoming a world champion in boxing. Last November, Mary Kom took everyone by surprise when she clinched a gold at the ASBC Asian Confederation women’s boxing championships. This was Mary Kom’s first international gold medal since the 2014 Asian Games and her first medal in over a year.
Post delivering twins in 2007, everyone thought that Mary’s boxing career would be over. However, she bounced back with a silver medal at the 2008 Asian Women's Boxing Championship. Today, Mary is a proud mother of three and pushes herself to do better than her last win.
These ‘women of steel’ have inspired me to be brave and never let anyone or anything stop me from being the best version of myself. I salute their undying spirit!