With the world on one side and her goals on the other, she left her home, leaving a letter for her father. She got on a bus and reached Nizam –ud-din Aulia. After spending a night there, the next morning she woke up a new person determined to achieve her goals.
Facing obstacles, struggles and fighting for her rights, Dr. Ridwana Sanam from Kashmir is a renowned name in the field of physiotherapy.
Physiotherapist, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, Managing Director of KRV Healthcare and Physiotherapy Private Limited and also Chairman of KRV Foundations, Dr. Ridwana is more than that.
With a smile on her face and a positive attitude towards life, she took the field of physiotherapy in India to the next level when it was a lesser-known profession.
Among the long list of accolades she has received, she was awarded as a woman of substance by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Azad, the former President of India and Best Physiotherapist in India award by actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra. His goal was to create a path for others
Born in a small village of Kullar in the beautiful tourist spot of Pahalgam, she was always treated and brought up as a boy. Wearing clothes and doing his hair like the boys, he was affectionately called “Rid Bhaya”.
After passing her upper secondary exams, her parents wanted her to be a doctor or an engineer, but her interest was fitness. Due to the unavailability of physiotherapy colleges in Jammu and Kashmir, she wanted to move to pursue her career in physiotherapy, but her parents refused and told her, “No. You can’t go because you’re a girl.
She said: “I was treated like a boy until then and when I got the chance to go out for studies I suddenly became a girl for them. My father thought that in the end you had to get married, so why face the struggle. Parents always find an educational institution for girls nearby, but for boys they find the best. Education is education, it shouldn’t be about gender.
His father initially did not agree to his request and Dr. Ridwana remained firm on his goal.
“No girl had come out of Kashmir in my family before, but I wanted to create a pathway where girls are freely allowed to go out to pursue education,” she added.
Finally, she went to Karnataka and completed her Bachelor of Physical Therapy (BPT). After completing an internship in one of the government hospitals in Delhi, she faced another challenge.
She said, “When I got home, nobody asked me about my plans. My father told me that I should work in the military hospital in Jammu and open more clinic or hospital under his name as he is a well known person which will save me a lot of people. This hit me hard and I thought, did Allah give Rizq (sustenance) to men only? »
She rejected the offer and made it clear to them that she wanted to create a brand and wanted to create jobs.
“My parents didn’t understand and I think they were in their place because they didn’t have a lot of knowledge about it, but as kids we have to make smart decisions and motivate them” , she said.
Her intuition said she was destined for more than a government job. His keen interest was in upgrading the physiotherapy industry in India. Bringing it to the corporate level, creating more awareness and providing training and jobs were some of his goals.
“There was no government policy for physiotherapy at the time, not even in the corporate sector. It was considered a very charitable profession but abroad it was a very demanding and very respectable profession. It was in sports but the industry was not upgraded. I thought it was a huge opportunity for me to do something and recognize physiotherapists,” she said.
Knowing that she won’t be able to fulfill her dreams in the state, she left a letter for her father and traveled to Faridabad to begin her journey on her own terms. She took refuge in Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliha at night.
“In the morning, I woke up a different person, confident and satisfied. I had 25,000 rupees on me and called one of my group mates from Faridabad who came up with an idea to open a clinic for physiotherapy,” she said.
They rented equipment and opened a small KRV physiotherapy clinic in 2007 – two beds and a consultation room.
There was support from some people, but some started to demoralize her, but she was satisfied that she had started the first step to achieve her goal.
Having gained a good reputation in Faridabad, people from other states started visiting him for treatment.
“I started giving people work. I needed assistants so I decided to have 18+ girls. I got orphaned girls from NGOs and provided them with jobs. I created jobs for physiotherapy,” she said.
In 2011, she moved to Gurgaon and set up a limited company – KRV Healthcare and Physiotherapy Private Limited, head office in Delhi and clinics in other places.
“The treatment protocols or standard operating model, research and development is an asset and can be replicated. The franchise model was one of the options for the brand. We focused on preventive management and introduced a separate division of products and accessories like sprays, belts, etc. People who are paralyzed or unable to come to the center, we provide them with home service,” she said.
In addition to this, she also imparted skills and training to young people. Girls, graduates or upper secondary school leavers, have received technical training.
In 2013, on the suggestion of APJ Abdul Kalam, she founded the KRV Foundation which helps needy and unemployed young people and orphans from various NGOs by providing training and employment.
“We carry out our own projects. 70% of my personal income and 20% of the income we get from the business goes to the charity where we are able to help people in any way we can,” she said.
In Gurgaon, she learned that in one of the mosques, 55 children were receiving religious teachings. She convinced Maulana to get these children admitted to private schools. “I did Diqr with these children. I told maulana that formal education is also important. I opened their bank accounts. I admitted 16 children to private schools,” she added.
Back in Kashmir, in 2021, she built a madrassa for girls in Khiram. “100 girls in the morning and 100 in the evening recite the Koran there in a safe environment. I told them to do Diqr because it opens you to knowledge and recites 100 names of Allah and uses it in daily life, which has been my strength,” she said.
She was also the president of the PHD Chamber of Women’s Empowerment. Received training in entrepreneurship from EDI Srinagar and Jammu, she has been to various girls colleges and universities for transformation of girls’ thinking with her motivational speeches.
“The girls really had an impact on my speech. If a single girl’s life changes, that means a lot to me. There are many entrepreneurs running their clinics who have been trained by me. Women are already powerful. They just have to unleash their power and just be the torchbearer,” she said.
Recently, she distributed food in Kashmir and helped widows and orphans.
In Jammu, she provided training for principals, professors and teachers of the RAMSA department, where she talked about occupational hazards and talked about prevention.
Apart from her professional obligations, she devotes enough time to her interests. Horse riding, cycling, golf and music are among his interests.
She said: “I am a horse lover, riding is my passion and hobby and I take part in races. One of my future projects is to participate at the national level. Apart from that, I also play golf as it is a mind game. It helps my mind stay focused.
She wants the women of Pahalgam to go horse riding. “Every household has a horse there. Like boys and men, girls can also be part of it and contribute to their families,” she said.
Talking about women’s health, she said women should take care of their health. “Women should have control over vitamin D3, B12 and calcium. Try to maintain normal hemoglobin. Do exercises. The bike is also essential. Physical fitness is important. To be successful in life, you also need to be physically fit,” she said.
She added: “We have to make the right decisions and save the emotional decisions for real relationships. We should invest our emotions in the right direction and see who deserves our emotions. When it comes to career, goal, reputation, we have to make a lot of sacrifices, we have to keep emotions aside and use the intelligence given by Allah which is a brain. We should always be aware.