Super humans. We read about them, watch them and admire them in the virtual world - but I live with a superhuman. She is my mother.
I am Diksha Dinde, a 23-year-old student and activist from India. I am 84% differently abled, trying to break the stereotypes related to disabled people.
Be it teaching underprivileged children from the slums near where I live or raising awareness to break taboos around menstruation, I have been doing my part to make this world a better place to live.
My mother, Mrs Chitrarekha Dinde, is my role model. She inspires and motivates me to grow without any barriers. It seems to me that this woman looks at life as a challenge and wholeheartedly intends to seize the day every day.
My mother looked after me and supported me in every part of my life. Right from childhood she has been with me like my shadow. It had been riddled with hurdles and difficulties, but she has managed to cross them all to because of the amazing and independent person she is.
Being physically challenged I am not able to move by myself and because of this I have not been able to do daily routine activities since childhood. At the beginning this was a hardship for my mother, but she was determined to make it work.
She not only helped me whenever I needed but she also taught me to help myself. She taught me to keep myself clean and neat, how to eat and how to know how much to eat. She says, "a child does not learn from what parents say but from what parents do".
I have had three operations and various therapies on my spine but none have been successful. I was rejected from schools because of their lack of infrastructure and facilities. I was finally admitted to one school.
My mother had to be there with me the whole day, but at the same time she also had to handle our home life. So she started tailoring and working during school hours. That is how she was able to satisfy financial needs in the home.
Now I've graduated in Business Administration and I’m pursuing a Masters.
Whenever I look at my mother I see an ordinary person but when I think about what she does and how she does it she becomes divine and the reason of my smile!
The experience of my life so far has truly brought things into perspective. My mother has taught me that hard times can be overcome and that losing battles can be won. She has taught me more than I could have learnt from any book.
She sets an inspirational example to me teaching me how to live life and make wise choices, even in the most uncertain situations.
I respect her a lot. She is my inspiration, my role model.
Children with disabilities
Children with disabilities are more likely to miss out on school than other children. But there are global commitments to overcome the barriers and give inclusive education to all children.
The essay chronicles the difficulties Sosa faces in trying to help her parents. In a standout section, Sosa describes how she "sadly understood" why her father couldn't get a job at a convenience store — and then lied to him to hide the real reason why he wasn't hired.
Dave, the chubby convenience store cashier who interviewed Sosa's father, told her, "Listen, girl. He's over 60 and speaks no English. There is no way we would hire him." However, Sosa told her father that Dave had just remembered the store had actually hired someone for the open position the day before.
Sosa elaborates on how hard the job hunt has been for her and her parents:
Job searching is difficult for everyone, but in a world full of Daves, it's almost impossible. Daves are people who look at my family and immediately think less of us. They think illegal, poor and uneducated. Daves never allow my dad to pass the first round of job applications. Daves watch like hawks as my brother and I enter stores. Daves inconsiderately correct my mother's grammar. Because there are Daves in the world, I have become a protector for my family. I excuse their behavior as just being a "typical American." I convince my mother that they are only staring at her lovely new purse. I convince my dad they are only shouting about store sales to us. Aside from being a protector, I am also an advocate. As an advocate, I make sure my family is never taken advantage of. I am always looking out for scams and discrepancies. I am the one asking the questions when we buy or sell a car. I make sure all details are discussed and no specifics are left unanswered.
Sosa also touches on the benefits of growing up in America.
"From caring public school teachers to subsidized lunches, the United States has put me on a path to success," she writes. "Undoubtedly this path wasn't always paved, but rugged and relentless feet have carried me along."
Currently a student at Westfield High School in Centreville, Virginia, Carolina Sosa will attend Georgetown in the fall, where she plans to study public service, politics, or diplomacy. You can read her full college essay at The New York Times.