From an 80% physically disabled to a Charted Accountant ; this is Santwana

PwD : Person with Distinction, Santwana Aras

Becoming a Charted Accounted is itself challenging, adding up 80% physical disability makes it next to impossible. But not for Santwana Aras, a 34-year-old woman from Bhopal who happens to be a Charted Accountant, Co-Founder and Vice President of an NGO, a motivational speaker, and also a member of Madhya Pradesh Advisory Board.

Santwana has a rare neurological disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which is responsible for her week muscles and restricts her to a wheelchair. But this disorder couldn’t week her willpower and a strong determination.

“If you can’t be ordinary, become extraordinary.” – Tanishka Patidar

Sharing her bitter experience, she said “only my right hand is movable and that too with some support, which enables me to write but in the initial years of my education, the pencil or pen impressions were not visible. This problem added a few years in my CA attempt too.” Talking further about her CA exams, she said: “the exams were scheduled in May, in the uncomfortable heat too, I gave exams without switching on the fan because that would turn pages of my sheet and I wouldn’t be able to turn them back because my left-hand doesn’t work.”

She did not join any coaching institute or guidance classes because the classes were not on ground floor and none of the buildings had an elevator or wheelchair accessible area. Her struggle is painful but motivational. Santwana doesn’t want more such people to face hardships, so to help aspiring CA examinees she gives coaching and mentorship.

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” – Stephen Hawking

Santwana co-founded an NGO called Uday Shiksha Evam Kalyan Samiti which focuses on imparting skill training and development under PMKVY and SCPwD which helps women and person with disabilities enhance themselves for better job opportunities. So far, the NGO has trained over 1500 individuals.

Despite people’s comments on her nine attempts to clear CA examination, her family always supported her. She said “my family never told me to hold myself back. They always encouraged me to chase what I want for myself. This supportive nature made me have belief and faith in myself.”

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” – Scott Hamilton

Santwana says “PwD means Person with Distinction, not Person with Disability. Every individual has different strength, weakness, dexterities skills and talent. We need to identify them, polish them, enlight them and show the spark within us to the world.”

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it” – Helen Keller

For someone who can’t even open a pen cap without assistance, Santwana not only became a CA at the age of thirty but also stretched her hand to help others and rose her voice to motivate others. Where waking up on a Sunday morning is a challenge for many, Santwana has awakened the spirit of strong determination. Cheers to the champion, the achiever – Santwana Aras!

Tanishka Patidar
"Serving humanity & scratching words to feed the soul" Tanishka is the Co-Founder of Indian Achievers Story. This lover of pen and poetry is also a social worker.