by- Suvidha Bhatnagar
“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”- Scott Hamilton
As part of the Kalandar Education Program running since 2006, Wildlife SOS has left no stone unturned in convincing members of the Kalandar community to send their children, particularly girls to school. One such child, Nargis, an eight year old daughter of a Kalandar and also a polio victim, today stands as a testimony to Wildlife SOS’s efforts.
Nargis stays with father,mother and two younger brothers in Bhopal and was diagonosed with polio very early in her life. This was the reason the lower half of her body almost stopped functioning. Her father, Zameer, is an auto driver and earns a minimal living. Her mother, Tasleem, is a housewife and takes care of Nargis who needs constant support for her daily activities. Nargis is extremely intelligent with a strong determination to study. Zameer, knowing his child’s potential and desire to go to school, worked hard to save money, but his meagre salary couldn’t afford Nargis’s private school fee.
Before admitting Nargis to a private school, Zameer tried to teach her in a government school, only to find them ill-equipped to take proper care of Nargis. In 2010, he approached Wildlife SOS for help. The organization’s team in Bhopal took immediate action and she was admitted to a private school in the nursery section. Wildlife SOS has been supporting Nargis and her younger brother with uniform, stationary and school fees for the last four years. Nargis is now in class 2 and is bright, happy and motivated. She wants to be succesful in life, she says. Tasleem too, is proud of her: “My daughter is always excited to go to school and reads her books all the time! ”
Nargis has set an example for the world with her positive thinking. Her attitude has inspired many other parents to follow their heart and never stop dreaming for their children.