The most important thing for a girl as she grows is teaching her since childhood that you are not weak. You are strong, says Shatabdi Avasthi, a para athlete and social activist who has overcome many obstacles in life and emerged undefeated. Avasthi, who dreamed of joining the Indian Armed Forces, lost the ability to walk after an accident in 2006. But, she says, the accident and her life after only showed her and the world what she was truly made of.Before 2006, I used to be very reserved and shy by nature, and you could even say I was an introvert, she says. I never used to talk too much. I lacked confidence. After the accident, its almost like she came out of her shell and turned into the confident and outspoken woman she is today. If I hadnt had that accident then I wouldnt have realised that I have these hidden talents, and Id never have found out that what personality is hidden inside me, she explains.Avasthi, who started social activism against the evil of female foeticide in her home state of Rajasthan, believes that this is a cause that everyone needs to take up right now, especially given the urgency of the matter. Emerging from a family with seven girls, Avasthi elaborates that if her parents had not been progressive, shed have had a very different fate. I feel I am very lucky that I havent been a victim of female foeticide, because if my parents had done that then I wouldnt have been here today, Avasthi insists.The girl child in India, Avasthi believes, needs to be brought up believing that she is no less, no more than anybody else. She explains that son bias plays a huge role in the continued evil that practices like female foeticide spread. We talk about women empowerment, we see women bring such glory, but when it comes to our own preferences, we want a son, she says, vehemently insisting that this thinking needs to be changed.How to equip and empower the girl child in India, disabled or not? Avasthi says self-defense training and sports are critical. The former can give girls the confidence they need, while the latter can not only help them stay fit but also open up avenues of employment and glory. Her mantra, which she shares with all, is to simply never accept defeat and always believe that no matter how bad the situation, you can overcome it. Her own life is proof that this is possible, especially for women.