A glowing face greets you warmly from under a mop of curly, dark hair. A firm, professional handshake grips you. Mansoor Ahmed, a patient of impaired limb movement (leg) makes such a good first impression of himself that one almost doesn’t notice his slightly staggered walk. He is a Communication and Fundraising Expert at the Association of People with Disability (APD). Despite his walking difficulty, he is always glad to go the extra mile for this NGO. He visits various campuses and premises making presentations about the work APD does and also what it could do. Mansoor has indeed come a long way, especially considering he didn’t have an easy start.
Mansoor was born into a family in the lower middle class area of Bangalore’s locality of Shivajinagar. At the age of 3, a local doctor gave him two wrong injections, with devastating results: Mansoor was paralyzed from his waist downwards. His family believed this infirmity would see him crippled for the rest of his life. He was put on a wheelchair and sent to a regular school, but they weren’t happy to have him there. How would he go without an education, and what job would he take up? Was there work available for people with disabilities? He couldn’t remain dependent on his parents all his life, but at that point, it didn’t seem like there was another option.
His family was distraught, but with the help of an APD teacher- Ms. Zarina, Mansoor was admitted into SIS, a school run by Association for People with Disability (APD). Here, Mansoor went from being powerless and dependent on his teachers, trainers and attendants, to literally standing up for himself! Ms. Amla, a physiotherapist, got him out of his wheelchair, and gave him two calipers from hip to toe to support his legs and two big crutches to support his upper body. He was made to walk with them, though he found it difficult and fell down time and again. He was made to switch to smaller crutches and finally, when he was in the 7th and last grade at SIS, Mansoor faced his biggest challenge- walking with just one caliper.
After this, he joined St. Xavier’s Boys High School, but he was apprehensive. He was afraid about the new environment, and about whether he would be able to make friends. But things weren’t as bad as he expected, and he turned out to be an average student. Few years later, he completed his high school education and started his own Lassi shop. He later joined a call center and moved on to become an IT recruiter, and simultaneously completed his B.Com in Bangalore University. After working for 7 years, he joined APD as a Manager in the Marketing department, realizing that APD was responsible for changing his life for the better. In his own words, he became a part of APD “aiming to change at least one life and make someone independent and contributing member of the society like me.”
Today, Mansoor is both the bread-winning spouse in his marriage and a father! His young professional career already boasts of stints in various jobs. He has been an employee at a couple of high-profile recruiting agencies. But his travels and high salaries were not enough to fill a growing void in him- immense gratitude to the various parties that helped him find a groove and the desire to pay it forward. So, to fill his emptiness, Mansoor is back at APD, as an officer in the Communications and Fundraising department.
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