Every child is heavenly gifted thing from Almighty in this world. Everyone wishes them and accepts them with warm welcome. But some of them don't get any wishes, let alone any kind of welcome. Because they have difficulties by born or after. When everybody can understand they are different, they include a word for introducing these different and innocent children as 'disabled'. People always remark them as a 'person with disabilities'. Nobody doesn't want to believe that they are 'differently abled' and have unique gifts, talents and also unique personality.
Today I will tell you the tale of a person, who has overcome all the obstacles and difficulties in her life. Now she has own world and she is the only King and Queen in her Kingdom. Shiuli Aktar sathi, who is intellectually disabled, has some special qualities, tenacity and strength to make her dreams come true. And now she is successful and an idol in our country. Intellectually Challenged athlete Shiuli Aktar proudly displayed Bocce games of Special Olympic, held in Brunei in 2012. She won three golds, one silver and one bronze medal. In before she played Asia Pacific special Olympic in Brunei and She also played badminton games on special Olympic in Shanghai, China in 2007. She won 6 gold medals in total.She has proved herself not only successful athlete but also a very good dancer and singer as well. She went to India for participating as a dancer and got prize there. Even she also went Delhi to participate as a singer and happily she got prize. Now we can introduce herself as a girl with multiple talents. But this society still doesn't care of her talents. Rather she is being misjudged.
She was born in 6 months of pregnancy. Her size was so small and didn't open her eyes for 7 days after her birth. Her mother and midwife were tensed. She had malnourished body and couldn’t talk properly. She also couldn't walk for nearly years. Her father was rickshaw puller. He couldn’t give proper treatment due to insufficient money. The first few years were physically and emotionally grueling. Then she was admitted in a special school in Ganderia, a branch of SWID Bangladesh. She has been extremely lucky to have such a strong and resilient SWID Bangladesh and her school teachers. She was lucky to be in a place, where she had a community of friends and school that supported her recovery and believed in her ability to success despite her disability. But she believes that luck is part of success, it takes courage, determination, honesty and integrity to pursue her dreams. But her life is very complex; not only for her disability but also poverty. Her father was patient of diabetic and irony of fate, he slept in bathroom and got pain in waist deeply. Then better treatment was needed for her father. She has 3 brothers and 2 sisters. But they were struggling for their own livelihoods. They couldn’t help enough for their parents. But Shiuli was a courageous lady. She didn't not agree to lose her stamina for poverty. She wanted to manage money for the well-being of her father. Luckily She got chance to manage money by Grameenphone, the leading telecommunication company in Bangladesh. She acted "jabo bohudur" advertisement of Grameenphone. The company gave her 2 lakh taka. She always remembers their help and gives thanks to them. The prime Minister also gave her 10000 taka. She used this money for her father's treatment. But he died after some days.
Now she is doing job as an assistant dance teacher of SWID Laboratory Model School. She gets only Tk. 1666 as salary, still it is not regular. She is living with her mother in Dhupkhola, Ganderia. Her siblings don't look after her and their mother. I asked her, 'Why they don't care?' She replied, 'They have poverty but they can keep my mother in their house or give me some money. But they don't do this.' She swept her eyes and also said, 'Only because I am disabled, handicapped and burden to them but my mother?' It's extremely difficult to manage everything by her salary like house rest (Tk. 5500) and other essential commodities. Nobody helps her. She was crying silently and also asked me, “What is my fault? Why nobody accepts me easily?” She again swept her eyes and asked silently, “What is the meaning of life, sister?”
Then she sang a song of Satinath Mukherjee 'Moromia tumi chole gale'. It is her favourite song. This song is pathetic. This society can't understand her mind and her talents but introduces herself as a 'challenging person'. She always thinks when her mom will die who will talk to her? Who will look after her, listen to her mind speech? She always cries silently. Only darkness is her friend. She has experienced many uncomfortable and often inappropriate interactions. Some from friends or family but many have involved total strangers. This strangers have a wildly misjudged belief that they are entitled to comment or talk about body, future and her miserable life. So, she gets hurt.
Most people speak before they think. Words can make us cry, or feel inspired or damage us forever. So, we should try to use the positive word. A positive word can make a positive world. A positive world has no obstacles and everyone can reach their dreams, and where Shiuli and other persons who are special can enjoy a better life.
The writer is a freelance contributor