My name is Mosua Islam. I am 25 years old.
Photographer: Wahid Adnan/Drik, Bangladesh
In my early years I had polio. The muscles in one of my arms and legs started wasting away, and that’s what started my disability.
I was studying in the primary school near my house, up to class 5. After that I was supposed to go to high school. But it was far away from my home and I couldn’t crawl that far. We couldn’t afford the rickshaw to get to the school, so I couldn’t go to school anymore.
I felt very bad that I had to stop studying. I now feel that for this type of problem that I had, a person with disability should not have to stop going to school. Education is the backbone of a nation. I think it’s really important. That’s why I’ll always encourage people with a disability like me to study more. If I had had that chance to continue my education, it might have been possible to have better work now.
One day, I was identified by a person from GUK and they offered me a mobility device. I requested a tricycle, so I could move around the whole district. They gave me this tricycle that I am sitting on and I started moving around. It was the happiest day of my life! It opened new doors for me as I can use this tricycle to go out to any place I like: I can go to the park; I can visit family members; I can see many people in the street—so it was a very happy day for me.
When I first started to move around town, it was something new to me. At first some people would try to give me some money thinking I was a beggar, but I would tell them, ‘I am not a beggar, I do business.’ When this happens I feel sad, but I also feel proud because I can refuse the money, as I earn a living. My business is that I move around the town to buy old books and waste papers. Then I sell them to shops and gain a good profit.
I am in a Local Ambassador group. In the group, we mainly fight for the rights of persons with disabilities. If anybody is deceived, deprived or tortured anywhere, we will always be there beside them, taking action to prevent this type of incident. We also try to acquire access to the services that are available at government level and at the same time we try to help other children with disabilities that have problems with being admitted into school for education.
When I think about my future I am fine. My life is good this way. I thank God that he has kept me. I am earning sufficient money. Today I am collecting papers, but in the future, I will be a shop owner. I will employ four or five other people. This would be my ultimate goal!