„The only disability you can have is a negative attitude!”
Saliya Kahawatte (born 1969) is a successful business coach, management consultant and author. He also works as a keynote speaker and has touched many people in his very special way with his gripping life story. The Hamburg native by choice is a practicing Buddhist and in his spare time a passionate Ayurveda cook as well as an enthusiastic long-distance swimmer.
Saliya has to overcome several hurdles in his life. At the age of 15 he loses most of his sight through a severe retinal detachment. Driven by his desire for a self-determined life, he manages to survive in the world of the sighted despite his severe visual impairment. By simply listening, he achieves his Abitur at the regular school, completes an apprenticeship as a hotel specialist and makes a career in the hotel and gastronomy industry.
For years he conceals his disability and pays a high price for it. Only when Saliya understands how to accept his disability has he really arrived in life. After a stay in a workshop for the disabled, he manages the almost impossible. He is the first visually impaired person to complete an international management degree. In 2006 Saliya turns his flaw into a brand and founds a small business out of Hartz IV. In 2009 the fighter nature publishes his autobiography “My Blind Date with Life”, which is intensively noticed by the media. Saliya’s companies now operate at home and abroad and their clients include listed corporations, medium-sized companies and private individuals.
In the year 2015 Saliya receives the award “remarkable life of an entrepreneur with disability” from the foundation Lebensspur e.V. in Cologne. One year later, the bestselling author publishes his first Ayurveda cookbook and founds Saliya Fundation e.V., which is committed to the integration of people with visual disabilities in the fields of work and education.
Saliya’s extraordinary story was released in German cinemas in January 2017 and has already been sold in 40 other countries worldwide.