This differently-abled Indian boy is leading the struggle to have a high school in his village
KOZHIKODE (INDIA) – A 13-year-old differently-abled Indian boy’s lone struggle for the right to study has brought him into the limelight, winning him accolades. Mohammed Aasim, who was born with no hands and impairment on one leg, has been waging a crusade to attain his dream of studying further and having a high school in his village of Velimanna in the district of Kozhikode, which is located in the southern state of Kerala known for its high social indices and literacy rate.
Aasim, the son of Alathukavil Mohammed Shaheed and Jamseena, has been unable to continue studies after Class seven because the upper primary school in his village has not been upgraded as a high school by the government and there are no other state-run educational institutions within a three-kilometre radius.
“I am 90% disabled and I am forced to bend forward while walking because of a hump. In such a condition, I am unable to go to a school far away from my home. For the past two years, I have been relentlessly struggling to have a school in our village, which is a long-cherished dream of the local people,” says Aasim, whose courageous endeavour has fetched him prestigious awards, including the UNICEF Child Achiever Award.
Though the local authorities have recommended the state government to upgrade the school in Velimanna, nothing has materialised so far. Even the recommendation of the state Human Rights Commission has fallen on deaf ears, says Aasim, who has trained himself to write with his feet. The teenager, with the support of well-wishers and residents of his village, has taken his fight to the nation’s top court in New Delhi.
“Since the state government has filed an appeal against all high court verdicts, my case has reached the Supreme Court. I have been compelled to visit Delhi in spite of my physical condition. I have already lost two years and I can’t risk anymore. I am passionate to learn like other kids,” he says, adding that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, National Human Rights Commission of India and Prime Minister’s Office have intervened in his case as it is a clear violation of basic rights.
Aasim hogged the headlines when he travelled to the state capital, which is 450 km away, in his wheelchair spanning 52 days, seeking the attention of the government. He was helped by volunteers and a social worker during the journey. “I had also led a ‘human chain’ highlighting my quest for the right to study,” says the winner of a state award for children who have made notable contributions to social causes.
A winner of the Inspiring Indian Award of the Kalam Foundation in memory of the former president of India, the late A P J Abdul Kalam, Aasim was also instrumental in raising Rs 53,815 (549 pounds) for the state relief fund during the deluge of 2018.