I am Archana Vijayan from Kerala. I was diagnosed Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) at the age of two. I have often heard that it is considered difficult, if not impossible, for people with disabilities like me to get a job in the medical field. However, since the time that I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor.

My childhood days were very hard for me. I couldn’t sit comfortably and had to undergo regular physiotherapy. My father, a postman, picked me up and dropped me off at school every day. My mother had to quit her job to take care of me.

When I was in school, mobility was never a problem for me. My friends and teachers also supported me a lot. At first they were reluctant to include me among them, but then, after I did well in the exams, they all started to accept me. So, education helped me a lot to overcome my disability.

I also faced many obstacles while trying to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. A lot of people demotivated me. They said a disabled person cannot become a doctor. But from childhood I was determined to be one. I had no choice when it came to choosing my profession.

After my 10th standard, I did not have the right to opt for the scientific sector. This was the first discrimination I faced in the education system because of my disability. I got a good ranking in the medical entrance exams, but then I got a place only for Ayurveda.

It was after the third attempt that I got a medical seat that I wanted. Once when I went to consult in Thiruvananthapuram, the panel insulted me a lot. They told me that I couldn’t become a doctor because I had a disability. But I knew that’s exactly what I was going to do.

The second time also they insulted me. However, the third time, I went to a national medical commission and they gave me the medical certificate. The next day, I joined the Kottayam Government Medical College.

Currently, I am pursuing my third year in MBBS. I also work as a project coordinator for Prajahita Foundationwhich works for the empowerment of people with disabilities.

During my school days, I had given various stage performances in Kerala including state youth festivals. A year ago, I sang a duet with the famous singer Haricharan for the movie Backpackers. And now I do concerts.

I also published a book containing 22 poems in my 9th standard, and I now write about various social issues and creativities through my social media accounts. I have a page on Instagram called immini_cherye_oridam and I have nearly 8,000 readers who follow and support me.

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