From a Bomb blast survivor to Motivational speaker: The story of Malvika Iyer

Life always throws different challenges’ in everybody lives. Some of the people overcome those challenges, but some remain trapped in the same.

Malvika Iyer is just back after receiving the first Women in the World Emerging Leaders Award in New York. Fourteen years ago her very survival was in danger after a freak shell explosion blew off her hands and severely damaged her legs. She is enjoying her school life, excelling in almost everything from academics to dance and music, athletics to fashion designing. And that incident happened in her life, she clearly remembers that. “It was a stiflingly hot day on the 26th of May 2002. I was thirteen years old and had finished about a month and a half of class 9 when the school gave out for summer vacations. It was a Sunday afternoon and some guests had come over to meet my parents. My father sat in the drawing room with them while my sister was in the kitchen preparing tea. My mother was outside filling water in the cooler. I was wearing a snazzy outfit when, to my chagrin, I discovered one of the jeans pockets was torn and hanging out. I had the brilliant idea of applying Fevicol to the torn edges and sticking it back together with the jeans. I went to the garage in search of a heavy blunt object which I could use to apply pressure on the glued edged.


Malvika is a Disability Rights activist and a motivational speaker. And also has won numerous awards, been recognized by several media outlets, spoken at platforms like TedX and the UN, and is a member of UN Women (IANYD – Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development) and Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.

Malvika with her family has shifted to Chennai. Because of her accident, she had to miss out of her education for 1 year.  Before 10th grade finals, Malvika tied a rubber band to her arm and tried to write.

 “I was determined to catch up on my education. The people at the coaching center were very supportive, and I had my parents to guide me all the way. In the months before my finals, all I did was study. The day of my examination, when I looked in the mirror with confidence, was the proudest day for my mother. I ended up scoring 483 out of 500 and securing a state rank.”

She is now pursuing social work and also encourages people to do something for the betterment of their life. She wanted to give back to society and started helping differently-abled children, involving her in many social activities.

She is now a motivational speaker and helps people to forget their limitation and make them confident to take on the world as a challenge.


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