Nisha Varghese is a 23-year-old blogger and aspiring philanthropist living in South Africa who just happens to have cerebral palsy.
Knowing that her life and work makes a difference to the lives of others keeps Vargese inspired to do the work she does to help others.
At just six months old, Vargese was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy, the non-progressive, non-contagious motor condition that causes physical disability in human development, particularly in the areas of body movement. As a result Vargese is unable to walk and her right arm has reduced functionality.
“Thank you, cerebral palsy, for teaching me humility, gratitude, perseverance, self-love and love for humanity — qualities which have served me well in all aspects of my life.”
Fast-forward to age 13 — when Vargese was put on bed rest following surgery to her back for curvature of the spine, her attention was grabbed by a TV interview by Oprah Winfrey of Kendall Ciesemier on his organisation Kids Caring 4 Kids.
This planted a seed for Vargese — since then, using whatever means she has, mainly the internet, she has raised funds for people in need around the world.
“Because I believe that every child deserves every opportunity to make a success of their lives.”
She uses fundraising platforms, her blog and social media to increase awareness and raise money for causes she cares about. These have included $7 862 for The Water Project Inc. (the money was used to dig a borehole well for a community in Kenya; $1 075 for the anti-trafficking Not For Sale Campaign; $1 088 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation UK; and $5 307 for the Malala Fund, seeking to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education, equipping them to achieve their potential and become positive change-makers.
Her current campaign is called 25 Smiles, raising funds for cleft palate surgery for 25 children through the Smile Train. So far she has raised almost $6 000.
Nisha’s message is simple: “If I can’t fix my own life and body, I can at least contribute to helping some other kids fix theirs.”