Vishal Parkash Bio
“From Introversion to Impact: Embracing Identity, Empowering Others” Growing up in a diverse community, I cherished the opportunity to celebrate different cultural traditions. Whether enjoying Gulab Jamun on Eid, hanging the Star of Bethlehem during Christmas, or reveling in the colors of Holi, I embraced the richness of cultural diversity. This ideologically-rich environment fostered support and resilience, shielding me from the challenges faced by being a minority. However, my O’ Levels marked a transformative phase in my life. As I ventured into the world, taking tuitions and relying on Uber for transportation, I gained invaluable experiences that shaped my journey. Among them, a profound encounter with an Uber driver stands out. During one ride, the driver, with a fake smile and wrinkled brown skin, made derogatory remarks about minorities, displaying deep-seated prejudice. Intrigued by the roots of such hatred, I mustered the courage to question him. I asked if he had ever met a Hindu, to which he proudly admitted he hadn’t. This interaction left me both scared and motivated to address these issues head-on. Fuelled by a desire to make a difference, I embarked on various initiatives. I founded a disability rights initiative to advocate for equal opportunities, an interfaith forum to foster understanding and dispel misconceptions, and a mental health service to provide support. Concurrently, I pursued my passion for entrepreneurship, establishing a social enterprise that bridges the divide between rural and urban areas, showcasing Pakistan’s rich heritage and traditional products to the global world. These experiences shaped me into a person who prioritizes others’ well-being, determined to ensure that they don’t endure the struggles I faced. Embracing my multifaceted identity as a disabled Pakistani Hindu, I strive to create an inclusive world. I challenge societal prejudices and work towards dismantling systemic oppression, following in the footsteps of previous activists and policymakers. Today, I continue to advocate for inclusivity, challenge prejudices, and promote understanding among communities.