My child took his first steps when he was six. I was the happiest that day. I now teach children with disabilities, finding happiness in seeing them learn new things every day.
Jannatul Ferdous, Teacher, BRAC NDD Centre
My child did not cry when he was born. Then at six months, he caught jaundice and had a seizure. Terrified, we took him to the hospital but he was not responding like other babies did.
Abir was diagnosed with neuro-development disability. I decided that I would do everything I could to give him a life where he could enjoy and grow like every other child.
When Abir turned six, I took him to the Centre for Rehabilitation for the Paralysed (CRP) in Mirpur, Dhaka, where they trained him to use certain devices that would help him to maneuver his arms and legs. I also received training on physiotherapy and how to extend the best support possible.
Slowly, Abir started to sit up straight. I still remember the day he took his first steps, all by himself, without any form of support. I was the happiest. I was determined to put Abir into a school.
When Abir was nearly 10 years old, a BRAC school opened close to my home, just a ten-minute rickshaw ride away. I immediately got Abir admitted there. The programme officer told me I should join as a teacher too, as I was trained on children’s accessibility and knew how to interact with children with neuro disabilities.
My classroom tucked at the end of a lane, minutes away from the bustling streets of Savar, Dhaka, comes alive every morning in its own unique way. As all 15 children in my classroom start to arrive accompanied by their parents, the room rings out with songs and laughter. I teach these children like they are my own. I get to see my Abir making friends and playing, although he calls out to me the minute I step out of the classroom.
I am waiting for the day when he makes his own decisions independently, and pursues things that he enjoys, on his own. That would make me the happiest person, and the proudest parent.