Jaleel

The ruthless gravel skins his knees, as he coughs with the dust. People stare with wide eyes, hanging jaws, and rude pointing fingers. He crawls with the dust, breathes with the dirt. Sputtering and wheezing, he arrives at school, and clambers into his seat. School begins, and when the day is over he goes back, breathing in all the dust around him. Everyday he did this, everyday, as the ruthless gravel skinned his knees, and he coughed with the dust.

For many years, he struggled to his classes, in front of the neighbors, friends and family, classmates, in front of the whole village. He needed a lot of guts and courage to pass through the roads, lacking, when we decide to hide from the crowd because of a torn shirt or a ripped pant leg. Can you imagine passing in front of these obstacles everyday, when we decided these pebbles in our road are boulders?

It was like he was glued to it…swimming in the dust, the cement, pebbles, and grit of the floors scraping his knees. There was no way out. He lived as a part of the floor, for many years. His father, a weaver, earning $44 U.S. dollars a month to support the family, did the best he could. But there was no way out.

It was like a miracle when Jaleel’s family heard about EquallyAble through a non-profit organization known as FEED. His father wrote out the application, and months after they sent it, EaquallyAble approved to pay for Jaleel’s tuition worth of $800. So Jaleel went to the IIIT of Mehboobnagar, happy for an education. But there was still a boulder in his road. He still crawled to school. There was no way to escape the pointing crowds.

Your donation of only $150 can provide
a wheelchair to those most in need.

When we found out about how Jaleel got to school, they were not satisfied with the help they had given him so far. What good was an education when you were still getting your knees scraped? So it was decided to enable Jaleel with a wheelchair. Jaleel enters the smooth, sleek design of the wheelchair with delight.

Yet there is another boulder blocking his path. Jaleel’s school is not an accessible building, so there is no way for Jaleel to use his wheelchair to get in and out of the building. So a request was made for ramps for Jaleel’s wheelchair to the administration at IIIT.

Not only does EquallyAble provide the three E’s, Education, Employment, and Equipment, they make sure that they can use of these materials properly and regularly; therefore they are making a change in the infrastructure…working towards making building and campuses accessible where possible.

The Indian Institute of Information Technology – a college formed by the Rajiv Gandhi University of Technology, at the Bassar Campus, builds a ramp for him, so he can, with his wheelchair, enter the building without difficulty. Jaleel rolls his wheelchair smoothly into the building. Not any of us can express the joy he must’ve felt, finally getting to school without having his knees burn from the rough gravel, and without all of the crowds pointing at him. Jaleel feels cheery and delightful as he scrambles off to his class in his wheelchair.

EquallyAble provides a happily ever lifestyle for their candidates –- but instead of cutting out there work for them, it provides the who-what-where and allows them to do the rest. The best way to put this is by using EquallyAble’s motto – “Instead of giving them the fish, we show them how to fish.

Thus we go back to the story of Jaleel. From crawling around on the dusty cement floors, swimming with them, going to them, coming back to them, with all of the guts and courage inside of him, the esteem, the braveness of ignoring the people and the ruthless gravel, a young man goes to “standing” on his own, proving his worth to the crowd around him. His hands used to pull him to school, scraping his knees to burn and sting with the pitiless gravel; but now the wheelchair dusts off the gravel roads for him, leaving a cloud of sand blowing behind him.

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