Monday, April 2, 2018

The Giver

Nisha Varghese is a force to reckon with. One of the 200 Young South Africans in 2016, Nisha's work has touched many lives. Here is her story. 

 On March 25, 1991 I was born in my beloved South Africa to my parents who are humble and
hardworking teachers who instilled in all three of their kids the value of hard work, kindness and
generosity. I went to special school for the first eight years of my schooling until medical issues forced me to finish my high school career at home after which I was a Social Media Manger for a while until I realized that my heart had always belonged to Humanitarianism.

My first foray into Humanitarianism was in 2009, when I attempted to raise $1000 for UNICEF. Despite failing miserably, I learned a lot and used those lessons a few years later to raise $7 862 for
The Water Project, Inc – the money was used to build a well for a community in Kenya. Since then, I have raised money $1075 for the Not For Sale Campaign, $1088.84 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (UK), $5307 for the Malala Fund, and $10317.04 for Smile Train (which was enough to pay for 41 cleft-repair surgeries). Initially because I was using social media to spread my message my greatest challenge was to prove to people that I was a well-intended human being trying to do good and not some kind of scammer trying to rob them. Recently, I started my campaign for MiracleFeet. I believe that all children regardless of their socio-economic circumstance deserve to live to their fullest potential without the hindrance of clubfoot (which is entirely possible since Clubfoot is treatable in 95% of the cases). People can donate at or follow #50NewFeet on Twitter and
share my tweets.

The thought that with God working through me I can leave the world a little better than it was when
I got here keeps me going. Additionally my family inspires me and my Superhero Catherine
Constantinides inspires me. She is an Environmentalist and Human Rights Activist – when she’s not
building new leaders or planting trees she is at the UN demanding that the Saharawi People, the
people of the Western Sahara, be given their right to self-determination. My Superhero is so very
special I’m so proud of her every day and I hope everyone Google’s her name she is guaranteed to
amaze and inspire!

Every year the Mail & Guardian chooses 200 young people to watch. In 2016, I was nominated by
my friend Caryn Gootkin (thanks Caryn!) and the journalists at the Mail & Guardian chose to include
me in the list. It’s such a huge honour I still can’t believe it happened to me!

Going forward, I work with the hope that people could be more inclusive by focusing on a differently-abled person’s ability not disability. The world must focus on an individual’s strengths not their weakness.