Meet Ms. Muniba Mazari, aged 28 years – a Pakistani artist, model, activist, motivational speaker and television host. She has been appointed as UN’s first Woman Goodwill Ambassador to Pakistan. It was her motivational speech in November 2014 at a TEDx event organized in Islamabad that brought her in the limelight. In this perfect world made up of “imperfect people”, we constantly try to be that perfect person for someone. We pursue to play multiple roles of a perfect wife, a perfect daughter-in-law and so on. But, life has other plans for us. So did it have for Muniba Mazari as well. At the young age of 21 years, her life was to take an ugly turn, which she considers as her life-changer. Read on the inspirational story of this exceptional woman.
Hailing from a conservative family, at the young age of 18 her parents got her married; and of course it was never a happy marriage. The more painful part was yet to come. It was the car accident which happened about 9 years ago involving her husband and Ms. Mazari. While her husband somehow managed to jump off, she could not and her car fell into the ditch. The list of injuries is a bit long. Her right arm, wrist, shoulder bone and collar bone were fractured. Her whole ribcage was fractured. But that injury that changed her and her life completely was the spine injury, which made her life bound to a wheelchair. One after the other bad news, rather disappointing news kept coming in from the doctors. She kept on saying to herself that it was alright; and kept gathering courage to move on. Then there came the day when she felt devastated, the day when the doctors told her that she would never be able to give birth to a child. She asked herself, “Why am I even alive”?
What kept her alive was her love for painting. Ms.Mazari always wanted to become an artist, but ended up being a housewife. So, she asked her brothers to bring her small canvas and some colors. Her very first painting she made was “On my death bed”. It played wonders for her; she could express each and every emotion without even uttering a single word. People admired it, but they couldn’t see the grief hidden behind it.
Dealing with my fears
With a broken body, half paralyzed, barely able to move her hands and most of her family giving up on her, fear started to grip her mind. Then one day she decided that she is going to fight her fears one at a time. She wrote down one by one all her fears on a piece of paper. Her greatest fear was getting divorced. She made herself emotionally strong and liberated herself by setting her husband free. Her second fear was that she would never be able to be a mother again. Then she realized that there are so many children in this world who need acceptance. That is what she did; she adopted a baby boy.
Her pillar of strength – her mother
“I pretended to sleep in my hospital bed when the women came to visit me”, shares Muniba Mazari. “The women would tell my mother that a husband would never accept a wheelchair bound wife. She would definitely get a divorce, as I lay there lifelessly pretending I couldn’t hear them.” Her mother would reply them saying, “If Allah took away my daughter’s legs, there is something important Allah wants her to do without them”.
“So what if I lost my legs? I have two wheels now.” How many of us could exhibit such positivity and hope? Well, this is what makes Ms. Mazari outstanding. The accident got out the best of Ms.Mazari. She became brave. After losing so much and being surrounded by so much of negativity, she realized that she has nothing to lose. She wanted to prove to the world that a disabled person can live a fulfilling life too.
Bouncing back to life
Today, Ms. Mazari is an accomplished artist, is a single mother to an adopted son and represents Pakistan in the prestigious Forbes 30 under 30 list of top promising young leaders, daring entrepreneurs and game changers from around the world. She’s also a UN Goodwill Ambassador for women to advance gender equality and promote the empowerment of women and children.
Her message for Pakistan on behalf of disabled people is worth spreading on social media: “before you ‘dis’ our ability, always remember that a person who is differently abled only needs your empathy, not your sympathy!