For 25-year-old Nur Syakirah Syazwana, no goal is beyond her reach even though she was born without hands. A woman living with disabilities she may be, but Syakirah refuses to let herself be defined as such. With her tenacity and grit, Syakirah wears many hats: Salsation instructor, fitness brand ambassador, successful TikTok star (with over 200,000 followers!), and Foodpanda/Grab delivery rider. Today she shares more about her life and what she does!

Tell us more about what you do!

I started in the fitness industry three years ago. I’m currently working as a Senior Sales Representative at Anytime Fitness. At the same time, I teach the Salsation classes at Anytime Fitness Potong Pasir. And I most recently started working as a Foodpanda/Grab delivery driver during the COVID-19 lockdown!

What inspires or motivates you to do this?

I first started teaching a Salsation class after my Master Trainer challenged me to. After giving it a try, I found it was a combination of things I enjoyed doing – teaching and helping people get fit!

I got into the delivery business through a friend who had been doing it for some time. They introduced me to the Foodpanda/Grab delivery job and helped me get started by guiding me through the whole process. I think many of our lives came to a standstill during the lockdown, and this was just another way for me to adapt.

Finally, how I grew my TikTok account was actually through my younger sister, who was an avid user back when they were still branded as “Musically”! She thought that it would be great to use TikTok as a platform to spread joy and awareness for the obstacles that I faced on a daily basis! In retrospect, I think it was a great decision because I have managed to share my life with over 200k followers, as well as create a safe space for people to share what they are going through!

Have you faced any challenges so far? And how did you overcome them?

Personally, looking for a full-time job was one of the challenges that I faced. I went for a few interviews before finding my current job at Anytime Fitness, and throughout the process there often wasn’t any quick response by the interviewer. I believe the stigma of being someone with disabilities still exists to this day, but I am glad to see that there are companies that keep an open mind and door!

Another challenge has been delivering food. It is a challenge to me because I need to ensure that the food arrives in a good condition! My disability does make it harder at times, but it is not impossible! While it requires an immense amount of care, I’m glad that I’m still able to do this. I also sometimes have to travel long distances.  I’ve managed to work around this by planning my routes and utilising public transport like buses to get to my destination! It does sound like a hassle, but I’m happy and glad that I get to be a part of this.

If you could share one piece of advice with your fellow youth, what would it be?

Don’t let things you cannot control affect you. Sometimes I hear about people talking about my disabilities, and it does make me feel insecure at times. But over the years, I’ve learnt that I cannot control people’s opinions of me and that their opinions shouldn’t affect how I carry myself. To this day I’ve been working towards having that mindset, reminding myself that what I can control are my emotions and how I react to things.

What are your hopes or plans for the future? What do you want to see or perhaps do?

My plan for the future at the moment is to continue upgrading myself in my craft by going for more Salsation workshops and Masterclasses. I think that having a growth mindset is extremely important and that we’re never supposed to stop learning!

At the core of it, I would like to see more fellow youth grow in their achievements, and if there’s any way I can help, I would love to do it!

This article was published on Feb 12, 2022

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