How often do you come across people who are willing to devote their time towards an initiative which inspires them? Have you ever met someone who came forward out of their own free will to volunteer for an organization that is still establishing its place in the world?
Atypical Advantage is elated to share with you the story and experience of such amazing volunteers who chose to dedicate a portion of time out of their own busy lives to help out people who needed a helping hand on not only one, but many occasions.
Anupama Bakhshi: Super Mom
She is a proud mom to Nikita, her neurotypical daughter who chose a career in mental health counselling and Pranav, her neurodiverse son who breaks glass ceilings and debunks myths about autism each day. She has an M.Phil in English, IB certification and a Montessori diploma. In her current role as content creator, she liked to think that empathy and sensitivity will be guiding the way.
When asked how her experience has been with Atypical Advantage, she said, “Honestly, I have nothing to say as far as my contribution at the back end is concerned. I can never do enough and whatever I have done, I ended up receiving more than I could give. Each special talent I connected with, made me marvel at the grit and fortitude that defines them. And the experience was humbling and overwhelming. I struggled with words and that is a struggle I have not experienced before. This was the struggle to find words that would do justice to the magnitude of talent. I found a soulmate in a workaholic visually impaired masseur who would tell me crisply,’’ I am at work, please call later’’. I realized, with amusement, how it feels when you say this to others, being guilty of doing it very often! And I found that I am working for a realm that transcends ALL differences. A masseur asked me, ‘’I am a hardcore Muslim. I will not compromise on my prayer timings through the day! Will that matter?’’ ‘’No, it will not, sir’’, I said. ‘’You are speaking to a hardcore Hindu. But the platform which connects us has no labels.”
Gopika Kapoor: Wordsmith
She is a writer, an autism advocate and consultant for parents. When her son Vir was diagnosed with autism, she decided to do something to help him and others like him. So, she joined Ummeed Child Development Center, where she worked for 10 years with over 300 children on the spectrum and their families. She also created and delivered trainings on various aspects of autism in Mumbai, Goa, Delhi, Gujarat and Bangladesh. In 2020, she published her book, ‘Beyond the Blue’, the first book by an Indian parent on living with autism.
She shared her experience with us in the following words, “I was very excited to read on Facebook that Vineet Saraiwala had launched Atypical Advantage. I had heard Vineet at an inclusion summit early in 2020 and was very impressed by his passion and vision for improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities. So, when a few days later, I read that AA needed volunteers, I immediately wrote to Vineet and offered my services. I was given a list of numbers and asked to call 10-15 people who were visually impaired and working as massage and physio therapists. I was to speak with them and write their bios for the website. I was a little hesitant in making the first call, but once I started speaking with them, I really enjoyed it. Each one had their own challenges and each their own story. What struck me about all the people I interviewed was how open they were about their disability and how they owned and accepted it as a part of who they are. As someone who writes and speaks on inclusion, I realised that this is the first step – for the individual themselves to be comfortable in their own skin and accept themselves with all their challenges and strengths. Each person taught me something new, and I am grateful that I got the opportunity to learn from them – all thanks to Atypical Advantage!”
Such people manage to ignite the true spirit of humanity and make us believe that there is still hope left in this world which stops for no one. People who make us believe in the power of unity and who encourage the feeling of togetherness.
If you are willing to extend your skills and expertise in helping people who need it, please visit here to register as a volunteer with Atypical Advantage.
Atypical Advantage is Planet’s first Talent platform for People with Disabilities. Explore our website to hire diverse talent, shop for products made by people with disabilities, browse through exquisitely curated art. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, read more about us on our blog, sign up for mentorship, volunteer with us or feel free to contribute here.