PEOPLE can go through the depths of despair and come out standing tall and stronger than ever before - this is the life of a Durban woman, Madhu Maharajh, who is able to make a positive contribution to the lives of many South Africans through her experiences. Speaking to the Fever motivational speaker Maharajh said: “Anybody can know the theory of things, but true winners, achievers and overcomers are born from the experience of trouble, hardships, challenges and even hitting rock bottom.” Maharajh, who is also a counsellor, HIV/Aids activist and the go-to person regarding addiction and rehabilitation, is the definition of a person who took her ‘mess’ and changed it into a message to inspire others by sharing her life experiences.“I spent many years regretting the experiences that have contributed to making me a woman of strength. I now spend many moments changing lives of all people who find themselves in the depths of despair like I once was,” said Maharajh.She was married at an early age to a man that she described as ‘promiscuous’ which resulted in her contracting HIV. Maharajh soon found herself subsequently dependent on substances as a coping mechanism to deal with psychological consequences of the abusive situation.All this happened before she turned 26-years-old and she shares how she had to be rehabilitated and this process was not an easy one.“It was a low point, possibly one of the lowest ever. “Again difficult to describe for most because one finds themselves stuck - pretty much between a rock and a hard place in that it is at your lowest as a substance abuser that no one cares much for your existence let alone your recovery so, yes, I gave up several times,” said Maharajh.In times like these the person going through trials needs something to keep them going and Maharajh speaks about how time forced her to be emotionally connected with the pain that was deeply entrenched in her soul and becoming one with it.“It was realising that it was only a dependence, a power greater than me, that could restore my sanity. “I, today, call that God. This is a spiritual tool which I experienced that gave birth to a probable life of recovery.”She also added that it was the sight of her heart-broken seven-year-old son that drove her to change. “The sight of my son’s broken face from my actions as an addict and how my experiences made him a victim too was a great determination to get up and out of this ‘world’ I was living in,” said Maharajh.She said that with determination, a motivational speaker rose from the ashes and she is now helping others who are in similar situations.She has conducted numerous talks at private organisations, schools, government organisations, SAPS and corporate companies. “I have studied the theory in Bachelor of Health and have a Social Sciences degree. “I have a Bachelor in Education, senior and further education phase. I am currently pursuing my post-graduation studies in the specialisation of the Psychology of Education,” said Maharajh.She has also launched a website called ‘Experience beats theory’ where she offers various levels of services to the community and educational sectors.She encourages other to follow in her footsteps and not let circumstances get them down. “We can rise above any challenge, if we put our mind to it,” she concluded.