overcoming odds: Shivam Verma with his family
Lucknow: Whenever his friends demotivated him by saying he won’t achieve success in life as he was differently-abled, Shivam Verma, 22, son of a farmer from a small village in Gosainganj, strove harder to move closer to his goal.
Suffering from paraparesis, partial paralysis of the lower limbs that makes walking tough, Shivam made calipers his best friend and pursued computer engineering from Dr Ambedkar Institute of Technology for Handicapped of the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University. He finally landed his dream job in Amazon on a package of Rs 19 lakh per annum.
“There is no such thing like ‘disability’. The word itself has ‘ability’ in it. One can achieve one’s dreams with hard work and positivity,” said Shivam.
Shivam, a computer science final year student of AITH in Kanpur, not only faced financial crisis but also physical, mental and emotional challenges to bag a well-paid job amid Covid-19 pandemic.
Shivam met an accident when he was just nine which led to the problem of paraparesis but with the support of his family and following inspirational words of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam that “if you want to shine like a sun, first burn like sun”, he kept on working hard despite odds. “My father, Rajendra Prasad Verma, borrowed money from relatives and friends to support my education. My three sisters and mothers saved money in every possible way so that I could study. I didn’t have the luxury of coaching to crack the engineering entrance test, it was small internet packs that gave me access to online lectures on YouTube which changed my life,” said Shivam, adding that he faced difficulty in participating in extra-curricular activities and cultural fests during school and college days.
“I cracked the entrance test and got admission to AITH on scholarship but since I had problem in walking, I was in two minds on the possibility of living in Kanpur all alone. I didn’t know how I will commute to college to complete the studies,” he said. Shivam said an acquaintance asked me to visit the King George’s Medical University (KGMU) for treatment. “”Doctors at KGMU asked me to get calipers from their limb centre which made my life easier as I was able to walk. I had little money so I left the hostel after one year and lived in a small rented room. I managed things alone, be it washing my clothes, cooking food or any other activity. I never had fast food and saved every single penny earned by my father. My parents burst into tears of joy when they came to know about my package. It was not just my struggle but that of the entire family,” he added.
“Now, I have decided to write a blog for students like me on how to achieve success. Differently-abled students are low on confidence. The government should hold awareness programmes and events to motivate such students,” he said.