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Updated: November 22, 2013 00:30 IST

She gave them their ‘success mantra’

J. S. Ifthekhar
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Mariyam A. Cementwala, Political Officer, US Embassy, interacting with the visually-challenged students of Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad.
The Hindu Mariyam A. Cementwala, Political Officer, US Embassy, interacting with the visually-challenged students of Devnar School for the Blind in Hyderabad.

Be the change you want to see in others.That’s the advice of Mariyam A. Cementwala, Political Officer, US Embassy, to visually-challenged children. To be treated as equal, one should compete. "Don’t get tempted to take the easy way out. You have to compete and exceed expectations," she said. Interacting with students of Devnar School for the Blind here on Thursday, she advised them not to feel let down by their condition. "Blindness is not a deformity, but a feature," she remarked.Though visually-challenged herself, Ms. Cementwala doesn’t see any difficulty in coming up in life if one had the urge and commitment to face challenges. In an interesting talk interspersed with personal experiences, the US diplomat asked the students what they associated blindness with. Some said darkness, some sympathy while a girl hesitatingly said opportunity.

Be the change you want to see in others.

That’s the advice of Mariyam A. Cementwala, Political Officer, US Embassy, to visually-challenged children. To be treated as equal, one should compete. “Don’t get tempted to take the easy way out. You have to compete and exceed expectations,” she said. Interacting with students of Devnar School for the Blind here on Thursday, she advised them not to feel let down by their condition. “Blindness is not a deformity, but a feature,” she remarked.

Though visually-challenged herself, Ms. Cementwala doesn’t see any difficulty in coming up in life if one had the urge and commitment to face challenges.

In an interesting talk interspersed with personal experiences, the US diplomat asked the students what they associated blindness with. Some said darkness, some sympathy while a girl hesitatingly said opportunity.

Ms. Cementwala liked the last answer and said for her blindness meant cane, joss and assisted teaching. “Some are born with fair skin, some with dark. Similarly blindness is a feature and not an abnormality”, she said and asked the youngsters to dream big. Ms. Cementwala, the Muslim-American lawyer and diplomat, related her own story to show how she overcame challenges. She was born in Mumbai and diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative vision condition.

She immigrated to US with her parents at the age of seven. Her parents wanted her to get admitted in a regular school. But it was not easy as many normal schools turned her away until a school admitted her with the rider that there won’t by any special favours to her. “I got inclusive integrated education. It was a challenge. And what I am today is the result of the challenges I faced”, she said. Ms. Cementwala said her faith did not come in her career growth. She added that she was inspired by spiritual leader Dawoodi Bohra, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, her parents and colleagues in the US Embassy. Devnar School for the Blind founder chairman Saibaba Goud told the students to emulate Ms. Cementwala.

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I am really glad to see Ms Cementwala on this position.She worked her
way up and inspired thousands of Indian children.As a teacher,I bow my
head to her feet.I also convey my gratitude to US administration that
appreciated her work.Thanks.

from:  Ashvinkumar
Posted on: Nov 22, 2013 at 07:07 IST
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