An indomitable father-daughter duo
We are heartened by the real life story published in this paper of a young girl leading her blind father from the crossbar of a rickshaw as he drives it. She has been her father's eyes since she was five-years-old. Every day, after she finishes school, the father-duo takes to the streets with a rented rickshaw to earn some money for the family. Monir Hossain, blind since he was a toddler, has been pulling the rickshaw for 28 years now. The indomitable spirit of this father and his family, and their zest for life, should serve as an inspiration for us all.
The story should also be a reminder of the ways in which we treat physically challenged persons amidst us – we think of them as liabilities rather than assets, as "victims" in need of our pity rather than productive citizens of this country who, too, deserve an opportunity to make the best of their lives. A little more than 9 percent of our total population has varying disabilities, but with adequate education, capability-based training and other services, they can become an integral part of the workforce and society. Concerned ministries must allocate specific budgets and draw up a comprehensive plan of action to incorporate them into society as active members.
Meanwhile, the media must play its part in changing societal preconceptions by highlighting these stories of struggle and success. We are humbled that, following the publication of this story, the local administration has pledged to give Monir khas land and materials to build a home as well as a job that is not as strenuous as rickshaw pulling.