February 9, 2017
One day I was walking down the street and met a woman with a curious look on her face. She was looking at my skateboard and asked me where I got it from. She explained that her young 12 year old boy was an amputee that was unable to walk since he was born. I immediately felt enthusiastic to help and asked her to tell me his story.
The boy, whose name is Shoeab, was diagnosed with a spina bifida, a permanently disabling birth defect. Consequently, the boy cannot and has never been able to do anything on his own since birth. She told me that she has to keep her son at home alone during the day while she goes to work. “How else will I pay my bills?” she asked.
I understood her situation and was curious about her son and his life, so we arranged for a time to meet in person. When I arrived, his father was holding him in his arms. I asked the boy how he was getting around in the house and outside. He replied « I don’t talk to anyone outside the house and I don’t go out ». Because of his disability, the boy is constantly dependent on the help of his family. He had no means of moving around on his own, so I decided to give him a skateboard. But first, his family needed to make some changes in their home.
The following month, I came back to visit the family with the skateboard. They moved to the ground floor of their apartment building, so that the son would be able to go in and out of the apartment. They also rearranged furniture throughout their rooms so that he could skate more easily. I gave him the skateboard and taught him how to use it : from the skateboard to the bed and from the bed to the couch. He also learned how to do simple tasks that he was once unable to do on his own, like going to the bathroom. The mother said to me “It is the first time he does this, it makes me feel so happy.” Thanks to his skateboard, he could now go outside and his life changed dramatically.
This experience made me realize that there are thousands of people with amputations in India who could easily move independently if they had their own skateboards. It’s my mission to provide free skateboards to those who need them, along with teaching them the skills that will improve their lives and keep them mobile. It proves that little actions can have a big impact on an individual’s life. – Guddu
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