Some people have clear goals, they know what they want to achieve in their lives and Mrs Charulekha Khandelwal is one of them. She is a reservoir of knowledge, focused and very well versed with business acumen. She always wanted to work in the developmental sector.  Her focus was to give back to society while working with the children. At the start of her career, she saw some advertisement for a course in AADI. Her desire to contribute in a meaningful manner made her apply for it and she did a year course in development therapy for children with disability in 1991. She holds a masters degree in Anthropology (human science) and went for another masters in 1994 from UK in rehabilitation which was sponsored by AADI.

At a very young age, she had realized that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people. Her passion for the field and the commitment she made to herself to contribute back to the society by utilizing her skills and abilities has been the driving force for her all throughout. At AADI, the motivation to work with the team was the honest feedback from other team members which helps in furthering the cause. She believes that in order to create a positive impact, the values of an individual need to match with the other team members and she was lucky enough to work with likeminded people who were themselves very committed and passionate towards the cause. She believes AADI as an organization is very supportive to the staff, transparency among the members and management has sustained her all throughout.

One thing which she has learnt while working with AADI is that for any person the focus should be to rise above one’s own concerns, any human being should be self driven, be it your career or family. Impacting other people’s life in a positive manner has helped her grow. She believes that growth happens when one faces lot of challenges to push and motivate them from within. As a therapist she used to interact with lot of college students and train them to take up this profession. Also, while working as head of School of Rehabilitation Science from 1998 to 2012, she got a chance to interact with new students which kept motivating her.

Life is not so easy for any of us. There has been lot of challenges for her as well. Being a woman there has to be a constant work life balance. One challenge which she had to face constantly was to question herself if she has made any difference in other people’s life. As an individual it might be difficult for her to make an impact but is she working towards making an impact. Are we as an organization any closer to fulfilling the vision of having an inclusive world with lot of opportunities for the people with disability?

Overcoming these challenges is never easy but having the support of the family and self motivation always helps. She chose to continue working in this sector as she feels working at the ground level can actually help her to connect with the people and understand them better and that’s what will finally make a difference.

Swati Chhabra

​BLP 2015

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