Shyam was a little hesitant when he arrived at Rein Basera. A shy smile would gradually creep across his face as if he was testing the waters of belonging. Perhaps being physically challenged made him unsure of his welcome. He has no such worry now. He booms into the room on his crutch, laughing outrageously and has bewitched every other child, trainee and teacher with his sense of humour.
At age 21, he is our oldest trainee. His father almost blind, he has 6 siblings and at the age of 10 he went to school for 15 days… that’s it. Today he can write his name in English and Hindi, is drawing on a computer and is winning his battle with basic literacy. He previously worked in a bulb factory for over 8 hours a day for 2000 Rs a month; before that, he was begging.
Shyam’s disability started at the age of ten with a throat operation on his adam’s apple. 15 days later he contracted polio.
Our staff, through NIOH, has already arranged for a handicap adapted rickshaw for Shyam. It is an incredible sight watching him give another more challenged child a lift home at the end of the day; the two of them scrambling on board with incredible agility, turning in unison, giving us a cheeky wave, and off they go.