Just before Russell Khondokar was getting prepared to take the SSC exams, the world around him came tumbling down.
Russell was on the verge of giving up all hopes as both his parents had died before his first major public exam. As if he did not have enough obstacle at such a young age, a rare disease weakened his arms to such an extent that he lost the ability to even hold a pen to write with.
But the double blow could not hold him down. Russell not only crossed the hurdles of SSC and HSC exams, he bagged his BCom Honours degree in accounting with 'first class first'.
Russell was born in 1994 to Shahanara Begum and Abdul Wadud Khondokar, residents of Lalpur village in Chandpur Sadar upazila. He was only a fifth grader when symptoms of monomelic amyotrophy (MMA) started to weaken muscles in his arms and fingers.
When he moved in to his maternal grandfather's house following his parents' death, he considered discontinuing his education as both his hands lost all strength. But after finding out that a volunteer scribe can write on his behalf in the upcoming SSC exams, he took the opportunity.
The talented and resilient young man did not have to look back ever since. With all out support from his grandparents, Russell tutors students to cover for his educational expenses.
He is now studying for masters in accounting at Chandpur Government College, from where he earned his Honours before. Confident as ever, Russell now aims to become a civil servant by passing the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) examinations.
Contacted, Chandpur Civil Surgeon Sakhawat Ullah said they already approved Russell's application seeking attestation for his disability due to MMA disease, so the authorities would allow a scribe for him at the BCS exams.
On his preparations for the BCS, which starts on October 29, Russell with unwavering resolve said he was confident that he would do well in the exams and eventually he would prove his worth by making contributions to the society through the job of his dreams.