A remarkable journey to success

2017-08-29 13:46
Dharashan Naidu with his wife Elisha.

Dharashan Naidu with his wife Elisha. (Supplied)

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Dharashan Naidu’s remarkable story is one that shines a spotlight on the indomitable human spirit.

Naidu was born with cone rod dystrophy (the lack of cones and rods in the eyes that control light sensitivity) yet he did not doubt that he would one day lead a normal life.

He credits his parents and the Arthur Blaxall School in Pietermaritzburg for giving him the belief that he can do anything he sets his mind to.

This is his story:

“I attended the Artur Blaxall School from 1989 to 1999. The school had very dedicated teachers, but three: Mr Frank, Maharaj and Pillay, were influential in our development.

“If it was not for their efforts we would not be where we are now. The teachers at the school went beyond the call of duty when it came to their pupils.

“My parents, Saantha and Saras Naidu, were very supportive of me and they urged and motivated me to study. When I went to university and obtained my qualifications in Human Resources, they encouraged me to seek my independence and I worked in Johannesburg. They never allowed my disability to become my inability.”

Naidu worked on the Gautrain project from start to completion and he was tasked to employ many disabled and partially sighted people. He then worked for Nestlé before returning to the family business, Coastlands Hotels and Resorts.

Naidoo and his wife Elisha married in 2013 and they have a one-year-old son.

“As a student at UKZN, the disability unit was still in its infancy stage. There were a few dedicated volunteers and staff, but it was nothing compared to the services offered to the disabled now. We had to rely on people to read out their notes to us or arrange for material to be converted into Braille.”

Naidu’s advice to people who do not have disabilities is “don’t judge a book by its cover”.

“A person living with a disability is only trying to be normal and wants to be a normal part of society and treated as such.

“My advice to anyone living with a disability is that the limitations you have are only set by yourself. You must set really good goals for yourself within reason.

“Use your disability as a reason to want to succeed. Prove to yourself that you can do anything within your means that you want. Set yourself realistic goals that you can achieve. I was not going to allow myself to become a statistic.”

Dharashan Naidu as told to

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  pmb people
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