health, SWEA Idols

Arthritis handicapped her, but couldn’t stop her

Meet Samina Bharmal, a beautiful young girl from Kenya. She might look like an ordinary girl of an Indian origin from East Africa, but her story is exceptional.

For the last four years, Samina has been wheelchair bound, due to Arthritis that she was diagnosed with when she was as young as 11. But, being the strong-willed girl, Samina never let her disability become a hurdle. She recently published her first book, 10 THINGS KEEPING ME SUPER SANE: On a Wheelie. The book gives an account of 10 things that helped pave her way to accepting a wheelchair as a part of her identity, and move forward towards self-acceptance and recovery.

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Here is a short interview we conducted with Samina. We are sure she will inspire you just as much as she inspired us.

Firstly, tell us about yourself, and your journey so far. – About your physical health and how living with arthritis has changed your

Samina Bharmal: My salutations to all the ladies out there! To sum up my physical appearance I’m short, big eyed and chubby (just in case you’re trying to spot me in a crowd). You may also notice swellings on my fingers, ankles and that I’ve got a delicate built. That’s all due to juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; something I was diagnosed with at the age of eleven. It all started with an inflammation and slight pain in the fore finger which gradually spread to other joints. I recall my best friend, Alefyah T Ezzi getting intuitions that she had caught it too, naively thinking it was contagious. Rest assured, its something that can spruce up due to heredity, or even hormonal imbalance. With arthritis it’s a juggle between smooth and rough, but hey, what’s life without a few bumps anyway!

Having the course of your life completely changed due to arthritis, how difficult was it initially to accept it?

Sameena: At eleven the gravity of the matter quite didn’t sink in. Felt like a little fling that would vanish with time. Quite the reverse, the symptoms alleviated. Small small activities like opening a bottle, carrying the bag or turning door handles was getting a tad bit difficult. But then, I mastered the ways and modified my actions to bring back the ease. Switching for a trolley bag, opening bottle caps with the mouth – and things seemed pretty easy again.
Four years back, I was subjected to a wheelchair, a complete deviation from my initial path. At the beginning, I can’t say it was a walk in the park but it all got better with time. Even minor changes can shove us out of comfort zone but mark my words; time is a healer!

Tell us a little about your book and what motivated you to write something about your life?

Sameena: There are some nights when I get vivid thoughts. One night they took shape into words and a random idea passed through. Why not share it with those who need a little helping hand?
This book is a compilation of my thoughts and experiences. It also imparts ways to gear up the wheelie onto paths of physical and mental recovery. I have fused ten essential things into this book which have helped me to leap over the hurdles and make a home run!

How can we order or purchase your book?

Sameena: Simply log on to (if you don’t have an account, register within seconds with just a few easy steps)
– On the search option type: 10 things keeping me super sane: on a wheelie
– Click on the buy option and pay via VISA, MasterCard and other payment options that Amazon accepts.
Here’s a direct link to the book:…

Lastly, any message for the Super Women of East Africa?

Sameena: I believe there’s a super woman in all of us. Flap your wings and flying will come naturally.


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