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Sharma defies all odds to graduate successfully

Despite hearing and speech impairments, 25-year-old Shivneel Sharma defied the odds to complete his degree in Professional Accounting from the University of the South Pacific and successfully graduate last Friday.

Sharma’s university journey was fraught with challenges, but he found invaluable support in his circle of friends and the resources provided by the university.

“University life and challenges: It was a big challenge for me, but luckily I had friends, without my friends support, I wouldn’t be able to achieve these goals, they were the ones helping me out throughout.”

“USP has accommodated me very well, I’d like to thank disability resource center in USP for being by my side and providing me with a sign language interpreter who have been coming in and facilitating my classes so with my buddies, friends and my interpreter, I won’t be where I am today,” he told FijiLive.

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At the core of his support system were his parents, who have been his anchor since childhood.

“My parents have been supporting me all the way. They always asked me what I needed, and I really thank them.”

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Shivneel is also an advocate for inclusivity and non-discrimination.

Working as an intern at APTC, he is teaching sign language and creating an inclusive environment.

“To all the stakeholders and businesses out there who discriminate against people with disabilities, it’s wrong. I encourage these businesses to always be inclusive so that they can gain experience,” he passionately stated.

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Looking ahead, Shivneel is not resting on his laurels.

He plans to further his studies and pursue CPA certification in Australia, a decision driven by the availability of better resources for people with hearing impairments.

“In Fiji, they only have it online, and it’s very hard to get interpreter access, so I am looking forward to pursuing my studies in Australia.”

“My advice is, especially for the deaf children in the Gospel school of the deaf and the ones in the main hostel, I want to challenge them and tell them that there’s no barrier: It’s not about your disability; it’s the Ability itself,” he concluded.

Simran Chand
Simran Chand
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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