An interview with Ketna Mehta on the occasion of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day
Ketna Mehta is an Editor and an Associate Dean, Research with a leading management institute in Mumbai. She is a Role Model for all of us. Read below an account of her inspiring life in her own words.
You are from management field and what promoted you to establish Nina Foundation ?
Nina Foundation was founded in India. The objective of the Foundation is to spread hope and optimism amongst the spinal cord injured. Spinal cord injury is a permanent disability which transforms the person's life, and rehabilitation is the key to facing life with dignity. Spinal cord injury affects the limbs as well as bladder, bowel, skin, bones and other organs.
Can you describe your / Nina Foundation journey ?
Nina, my sister, suddenly expired in 2000. She was only a year and half older to me. My source of strength and inspiration to do all that we categorise as achievements. While chatting with me in the hospital post my surgery she said some very motivating words: " Ketna this has happened to you with a purpose, you must bring about a positive change in the lives of fellow persons with spinal injury". These words kept resonating in me after her death and thus was born Nina Foundation, to share all the inspiration she gave me to others in India, to share hope and optimism about how life can still continue to be exciting and beautiful.
Were there any trying moments post accident? What motivated you to keep on going ?
After the injury in 1995,my sister, Dr. Nina and my Doctors worked really hard on not just my wounds but also my spirit. She always encouraged me to be self-reliant, to stretch beyond my limits, to become independent and pursue my professional and personal goals irrespective of the physical limitations. Nina always emphasized: "Take stock of the talents and skills you possess, Believe in your dreams and you will be a success". Thus, today I am an Editor and an Associate Dean, Research with a leading management institute in Mumbai.
Your advice to a person with SCI on living a fulfilled life ?
I personally believe that " Every crisis is potentially a stimulus to the positive side of the personality, its an opportunity to start afresh!"
An illness is not a negative crisis, but a life changing moment, a gift - another chance to rearrange our lives. Little by little we have to inch forwards towards our goal. Its always possible!
Can you tell us about the upcoming 2nd Rockstar Awards which is held on the Spiral Injury Day i.e. 25th June ? Any other events ?
Prestigious Nina Foundation RockStar Award, 2010. This award has been instituted to identify, recognize and celebrate our Nina Foundation members who against all odds of a devastating spinal injury have overcome the diverse challenges of life, This award is for their spirit, grit, determination, their your congenial outlook towards life, as they spread joy, hope and spiritual thoughts amongst all.
Please share your views on Accessibility, Employment Opportunities, Inclusion or any other issue which you feel important.
For the uneducated women in our country who are disabled it is a long an arduous journey. This is due to the lower status given to the girl child and women. For the educated it is deprivation of formal education, matrimony & a equal status in society. Implementation of PWD ACT (Person With Disability) is imperative for eliminating discrimination.
What are your future plans for Nina foundation ?
To offer world-class spinal cord injury services encompassing physical, psychological, vocational, social, recreational and spiritual rehabilitation for overall well being. Nina Foundation was founded in India. The objective of the Foundation is to spread hope and optimism amongst the spinal cord injured. Spinal cord injury is a permanent disability which transforms the person's life, and rehabilitation is the key to facing life with dignity. Spinal cord injury affects the limbs as well as bladder, bowel, skin, bones and other organs.
What facilities do you visualize for people with spinal cord injury ?
Participation in disability seminars and workshops. Author and present research papers / articles on the status of the disability sector in India. Organize picnics, get-togethers and outbound programs for the community with family members. Create powerful advertisements, calendars, presentations and films about abilities of the differently able and inclusion. Dance Therapy & Active Rehabilitation and sports.
Nina Foundation also conducts activities for making every person with spinal cord injury self reliant and independent through.
- Employment initiatives including work place solutions and technology
- Education initiatives for children with spinal cord injury
- Efficacy survey on stem cell treatment
- Wellness Seminars and Workshops on Spinal Cord Injury
- Access and Sports Solutions
- Diagnostic and medication expenses for underprivileged people with Spinal Cord Injury
- Publication Book on 'Spinal Cord Injury achievers from India'
- Holistic Rehabilitation services
Your experiences / Challenges of operating Newsletter- One world: Voice of Paraplegic, Helpline ?
Nina Foundation's activities include the first one-of-its-kind bi-monthly newsletter, One World - Voice of Paraplegics. The newsletter gives comprehensive information and solutions related to the distinct physical, medical, psychological, social, recreational and vocational aspects faced by spinal cord injured.
We also conduct:
Work therapy that enables people with spinal cord injury to express their abilities, gives them financial independence and thus self confidence a sense of respect in their family and community. Support Groups that facilitates sharing of experiences and have a cathartic effect. Donate wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, calipers, other aids and appliances as well as medicines and expenses for regular urodynamics, sonography, X-rays and pathology tests. Making India and Mumbai, barrier free & accessible for people with disability. The first Helpline for spinal injury in India. Sponsor trophies for paraplegic sports. Participated in the Mumbai Marathon for 5 consecutive years (from 2006 to 2011) with over 50 members with spinal cord injury wheeling for Nina Foundation.
As a founder of Nina Foundation, what would be your message to people having spinal cord injuries & society at large ?
'Sunshine should be a part of your life," is my mantra, "I live for the day, the moment..." Hard work. And more hard work. There is no substitute for willingly giving our very best to any task.