Muniba Mazari is a writer, artist, singer, activist and a motivational speaker. She is also a paraplegic, having lost control of both legs in a car accident. Through her vibrant paintings, she expresses in bold colours the strength of her own personality. Her purpose is to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest. Her inspirational talk at TedX Islamabad motivated thousands and made her known across Pakistan. She recently released a video of her visit to the Army Public School, Peshawar. Dawn spoke to her about her amazing journey.

Q. Do you feel resentful when you think about the accident which left you handicapped for life?

A. When the car started going into a ditch, I knew this was the end of my life. When I gained consciousness I was reciting the kalma and thinking I have been given a new life. Half of my body was fractured and the rest paralysed. I neither complain nor blame anyone. I believe it was destined to happen. I was 20 years old at the time and had not done anything special in my life. Today, I know where I am going and my life is important to me.

Q. Following the accident, how did you develop yourself as the person that you are today?

A. I began painting while I was still at the Agha Khan Hospital. I was bandaged all over and could barely move my hands but painted because I wanted to distract myself. Today, I work at a school for underprivileged children. My aim is to find donors and philanthropists who would fund the school so that more children may be enrolled. I am also a part of Toni and Guy’s wheel chair modelling campaign, the brand ambassador for the Body Shop Pakistan and Pond’s miracle woman.

Q. How was your visit to Army Public School Peshawar?

A. It was an amazing experience. I went there more than one month after the attack on January 19. I wanted to go when the fanfare was over. I connected with the students. We cried, we sang songs. As we were singing national songs, the word martyr came up and I could not help but break into tears. I thought of all those children who had been martyred at the school. I told the students they are ghazis (righteous conquerors). Later, I went to the Combined Military Hospital where four students were under treatment. One of the students, Waleed, had been shot in the face. He has had several surgeries yet in one of the photographs I took with him, he had the strength to smile. It was truly inspirational.

Published in Dawn February 19th , 2015

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