Supreme ACC Attitude Award winner a children’s champion
Auckland teenager Muskan Devta (16) has won the Attitude ACC Supreme Award for 2015 on December 3 – the UN sanctioned ‘International Day of People with Disability’.
Overcoming strong competition, the champion for social good took out the Youth Award category and was then selected from the winners of eight award categories to win the overall Attitude ACC Supreme Award.
Muskan has already been invited to speak to and inspire audiences at the TEDx Conference in Auckland, the Festival for the Future and Zeal’s Tall Poppy conference where her talk focused on the importance of diversity in New Zealand.
Now she dreams of becoming an ambassador for children with disabilities, promoting inclusiveness and empathy for children who grow up like her – feeling different because of their disability
In their eighth year, the national Attitude Awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with a disability. Having grown bigger that some of the country’s other premiere awards, this year’s black tie gala for more than 650 people was held at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre and hosted by TV news presenter Simon Dallow.
Chief Executive of ACC Scott Pickering says the Attitude Awards shine a light on New Zealand’s unsung heroes.
“At ACC we’re delighted to support the Awards and to acknowledge New Zealanders who live life to the fullest, achieve their goals and provide role models to our community,” he says.
Muskan was born prematurely in India. As a result, she has a condition called partial hemiplegia, which makes half her body weaker than the other. At a young age she had to adapt to a new country, a new language and to a different way of doing things to compensate for her disability.
Although it was hard to make friends and live a ‘normal’ life at first, Muskan found courage and began her mission to make positive change in the world. She broke out of her shy shell and became class captain, a roving reporter for the school newsletter and had her own radio show on popular Hindi station Radio Tarana.
Then in 2013 Muskan published her first autobiography, I Dream, to raise money for Starship Children’s Hospital where she underwent corrective surgery. Last year Muskan donated $500 of her 15th birthday money to support the Breakfast Club, a programme providing breakfast for low decile schools in Auckland. She is currently raising funds to build two classrooms at a school for blind children in India.
Other Attitude Award winners are Otis Horne (Courage in Sport), Nick Chisholm (Spirit of Attitude), Rachel Callander (Making a Difference), Michael Johnson (Sport Performer of the Year), CQ Hotels Wellington (ACC Employer Award), Nicholas Brockelbank (Junior) and Salem Foxx (Artistic Achievement). Gary Williams was inducted into the Attitude Hall of Fame and Sean Prendeville won the Attitude People’s Choice Award.
The Awards have grown out of the Attitude TV series which screens on TV ONE on Sunday mornings at8:30AM.
Chair of the Attitude Trust Dan Buckingham says the Awards are about celebrating outstanding achievements across what is a broad and diverse sector of society.
“Last night we celebrated winners across eight different categories, with awards for art, community and sporting achievements. It was such a difficult process to determine the winners as all of the 24 finalists were absolutely fantastic in their own right. It is a privilege to be able to tell their stories and celebrate their success,” says Buckingham.
Sponsors supporting the Awards include: Invacare, Westpac, Drake Medox, Ministry of Health, Barfoot & Thompson, IHC Foundation, Air New Zealand, Lion Foundation and the Wayne Francis Charitable Trust. ACC has been principal sponsor for eight years.
Watch previous Awards footage at www.AttitudeLive.com