14-year-old Rohit dreams of becoming a pilot - and he is determined that his disability won't stop him. Photo by Annila Harris, World Vision
They call me ‘bones’. They call me ‘shrivelled’. It hurts very badly, but what do I do in that situation? I just have to listen and not confront, because I will never win a physical fight with them. I just have to walk away. Such days I regret existing. I feel anger at my condition. Normal would have been just fine.
14 years ago when I was born, the doctors made a terrible mistake. My mother told me the story. When I was born my legs were very weak and felt no sensation in them. The doctors had told my parents to get me operated within 15 days or else I would be invalid for the rest of my life. After the operation my parents got to know that the doctors wrongly cut an important nerve, but it was too late. I now have scoliosis. Neither I can grow in height nor can I grow in weight.
Just by looking at my physique and disability people pass judgement that I can’t do anything. They don’t even get to know me but the judgement is harsh. Even when children my age play, they don’t include me saying I will get hurt and I cannot contribute much in the game. My neighbourhood is not kind towards me. They see me as a freak and say rude things when I pass by. I don’t see any reason why they should. I wish they realise that I am a human being too. I have a heart, I have feelings.
People differentiate between children with special needs and other kids, who they call ‘normal’. We are all children at the end of the day. Even with my limitation I can do everything a normal child can do, even if it isn’t with the same intensity.
But despite it all, I still consider myself fortunate, I have hands and legs, I tell myself every day that I can do this, I can succeed if I really work hard. Thankfully I am in a school where the children don’t tease me.
I go to school to gain an education, to become something in life and most importantly to disprove the stereotypical mind-set that children with special needs cannot become anything in life and their existence does not matter. We matter.
I believe that whatever one needs they can achieve it if they just believe in their abilities and constantly work at it. I want to prove to the world that who they term as invalid and useless has the ability to do so much more. Never accept defeat. Society has no hopes from me, but I have hopes for me. ‘I can do it’ is the attitude I adopt.
I would like to tell children with special needs, be content with what they have and make the best use of it. Many times people who have all parts of their body functioning take it for granted and don’t make the best use of it, they become lazy. But for people like us, we know what we have less and then can make the best use of it never taking it for granted; it’s a blessing in a way.
I live with my parents and two brothers. One is 12 years old and the other 13. I am the eldest. They are my world. My brothers are protective of me, especially when someone says something rude to me. My mother worries about me, she doesn’t like to see me suffer. My mother also fears that after she passes away no one would take care of me and stand by my side.
With World Vision I got to go for meetings where children with special needs come together. I got to learn about our basic rights. I never knew them before. I was empowered. I got to interact with other children with special needs. It is always good to know that I am not alone in this struggle and there are others. I felt a sense of belonging and oneness there.
It is my desire that like World Vision helps people, I would also help people. I am part of the children’s club too. I have made friends at the children’s club, we play together. I go there and I get to meet people. It makes me feel good. All I need from World Vision is their support. That they stand by me. It is through such support I can accomplish my dreams.
My dream is to become a pilot or bank official. I will study extra hard and put in all my effort to achieve my aims and goals. Through education I will achieve my aim, my goal. My prayer is that I achieve my goals and make my parents proud.