No wheelchair can stop Afsara, the happy camper!
Just 12 years old, Afsara Khan from Kolkata, is remarkably expressive and communicative. Her picture communication board is alive with images that bring forth the ideas and thoughts running through her mind. Afsara, who has cerebral palsy uses a wheelchair to move around. The picture communication board is a canvas to express herself as she has associated speech and communication impairment.
Afsara's early years were hard as she comes from a poor economic background
Afsara's early circumstances were hard and tough. Her father is a labourer, and the only earning member in a joint family, which includes grandparents and a brother.
She started attending school when she was 10 years old at the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy in Kolkata. Her teachers say that she had to work hard to catch up with the other kids and has shown steely determination and a remarkable improvement.
"In the beginning, she was unhappy and used to cry a lot", says Susrita Pradhan, Principal, Centre for Special Education, IICP. "She used to prefer to work only with her class teachers."
Today, Afsara actively participates in programs both inside school and outside. In December 2016, she went to North Bengal for the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Camp, where she was awarded the Best Camper prize!
"Even though it was a new and unfamiliar place, she adjusted quickly and beautifully. She communicated well with peers at the camp, and took part in all activities most enthusiastically"- Susrita Pradhan, Principal
Recently Afsara was part of an IICP Raksha Bandhan event organised with the Kolkata Traffic Police. The group tied rakhis and friendship bands on people passing by as a gesture of solidarity and inclusion.
Afsara shows great interest in art and craft, and has taken part in drawing competitions, most recently one held by the Bank of Baroda. She is especially good at making paper bags and jewellery. Her teachers say she is a friendly child, always eager to step forward and help out.
Read about the others featured in our series - Children Who Inspire