Muniba Mazari – Paralysed at 21 to Motivational Speaker
At the age of 21 Muniba Mazari became wheelchair bound after a tragic car accident. Her whole life instantly changing in a flash. Surrounded by white walls suffering multiple fractures including a spinal cord injury, she was told she would never be able to paint, walk or bear children. Muniba had a choice to spiral into depression or accept her new reality, she chose to live. Now an accomplished motivational speaker, model, activist and television host, Muniba inspires others who are challenged by adversity that opportunities are present if you seek them out.
Muniba Mazari was born in Pakistan on 3rd March 1987 and belongs to a conservative family. At the age of 18 her father wanted her to marry and good daughters never say no to their parents, so she agreed. The marriage was never happy and at the age of 21, her husband fell asleep at the wheel causing the car to fall into a ditch. Her husband managed to jump out and save himself but Muniba unable to move sustained considerable injuries. The list of injuries was endless but the injury that changed the course of her life was the spinal cord injury, 3 vertebrae in her back had been crushed, she underwent 3 major and 2 minor surgeries. She spent two and a half months in hospital, close friends disappeared, life was bleak.
The doctors advised Muniba that she would never be able to paint, she would never be able to walk and due to the severity of her spinal cord injury she would also never be able to give birth. Muniba was devastated but mostly by the diagnosis that she would never be able to have children. Tired of wearing white hospital gowns and staring at white walls all day, she asked her brothers to bring her canvas and paints so she could put the colour back into her life. Everyone adored the paintings but Muniba said that behind all the colours was immense grief. Finally, after two and half months she was discharged and sent home. Muniba spent another two years completely bedridden, the only consolation was her painting, she was able to express herself through her art, it was her escape.
Acceptance of her Current Reality
Ultimately, the day came when Muniba could get into a wheelchair. It was a turning point. Muniba told herself she could not wait for a miracle; stem cell treatment was too expensive and there was no point in crying and pleading for mercy. The only option was to accept her condition and move forwards.
Muniba wanted financial independence so she became a content writer, she displayed her artwork in several galleries, life was good but she was not happy. Intrinsically something was missing, Muniba knew she was destined for bigger goals but was unsure what it was and how she would accomplish it.
Muniba’s life purpose flashed in front of her when she noticed an advertising campaign for polio, a fragile weak boy was in a wheelchair with his father beside him. The father was lamenting and encouraging others to get their children vaccinated or they would end up like his son. Muniba was shattered, she disliked the way the young boy was being objectified for the campaign – because he was in a wheelchair he was deemed worthless. Upon witnessing this advert Muniba decided her purpose would be to advocate for people in wheelchairs – life in a wheelchair she declared did not equate to unhappiness.
“I am caged by my body but my mind is free so is my soul, so is my spirit.” Muniba Mazari
Kicking Down Fears
After the accident, the wheelchair for Muniba became a symbol of strength. Once she accepted her reality, live life and fight her fears, her life started moving forwards opening up opportunities she never thought possible. Muniba jotted down all her fears and decided to eliminate them one by one. Her number one fear was divorce and when she finally took the decision to divorce her husband, she felt liberated. Her second fear was that she would never be a mother but she soon realised there were so many children in the world in need of acceptance, that instead of wasting tears, she should just go and adopt one and that is exactly what she did. Muniba signed up with several adoption agencies and waited patiently. Two years later she received a phone call that a two-day old baby boy was in need of a home and would she like to adopt?
Muniba’s message is that when you accept the way you are, the world recognises you. It all starts from within. Everyone is fighting their own internal battles but Muniba’s was visibly public for all to see, even the women who visited her in hospital would comment to her mother that no husband would ever stay with a wife in a wheelchair. We all have a plan and expect life to follow that plan but when it unexpectedly takes a detour, we crumble and give up. Muniba suggests you should not die before your death and that real happiness lies in gratitude.
Today Muniba is an accomplished artist, single mother of an adopted son, goodwill ambassador for women to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women. She has established her own brand Muniba’s Canvas with the slogan, ‘Let your walls wear colours.’
Muniba has taught us that illusions are just limitations of our mind and nothing can stop us from achieving our goals.
“Before you ‘dis’ our ability, always remember that a person who is differently abled only needs your empathy, not your sympathy!” Muniba Mazari