Eshwaramma Nrayanappa is awarded first International Diana Award
A DISABLED teenager from India who learnt to write and draw by holding pens and brushes in her mouth has become the first recipient of the International Diana Award.
In the year that Diana, Princess of Wales would have turned 50, 18-year-old quadriplegic Eshwaramma Nrayanappa was given the accolade for her contribution to the rights of disabled people.
The Diana Awards are dedicated to the memory of the Princess of Wales and are given to young people who inspire the lives of others.
The 18-year-old campaigns on behalf of disabled villagers in her area, using her life experience to highlight the importance of education and equal opportunities.
She has used her own disability to aid families with disabled members, has helped train carers, advised politicians and supported a young disabled boy’s transition into school. His parents had been afraid to send him to school because of the bullying he might face – but he’s now flourishing thanks to the support received by Eshwaramma.
18-year-old Eshwaramma has been supported during her childhood through ActionAid’s child sponsorship programme.
Sponsorship enabled her to attend a school for severely disabled children where she learnt to write and draw, holding pens and brushes in her teeth. It also gave her and her family the confidence to face the world with hope.
Eshwaramma hopes to qualify as an art teacher and is grateful for the support her ActionAid sponsorship has given. “If I was not a sponsored child I would have stayed back at home,” she says.
“I wouldn’t have been in school, I wouldn’t have learnt the art of drawing and if I was not sponsored I wouldn’t have got the Diana Award.”
ActionAid spokesperson, Lyndall Stein, described Eshwaramma is a sponsorship hero.
“Eshwaramma has not let poverty nor her disability hold her back. She is a hero. But now, as never before, ActionAid is genuinely worried for the lives of children in the communities where we work. In these times of increasing economic difficulty, there are girls and boys across the world who without sponsorship may not get the same opportunities that Eshwaramma is being given,” says Lyndall.