Life with physical disabilities is tough for anyone and the struggle turns crueler when the whole family suffers from it. You will hardly find anyone to understand what the Zia Sheikh family in Faridpur is going through.
Zia Sheikh, in his early 40s, is a hearing-impaired man lives with his seven-member family at Megmachi village in the district’s Madhupur upazila. Ironically, five of the family members, including Zia himself, his mother Rina khan, 60, his wife Arjina Begum, 37, and two of their children have physical disabilities.
Rina Khan, Arjina Begum and their 6-year-old girl Yasmin suffer with hearing disability like Zia while their elder son Akash, 15, has mental and physical disability by birth. Zia’s other daughter, Helena, 14, and son Tamim, 8, are the only members in the family who are not suffering from any disability.
Zia said his miseries started right after his birth as he was the youngest son of Karim Sheikh, a landless man in the village who had earned livelihood by begging.
After his father’s death, Zia looked after his mother. One day he got married and started his own family but they have to live in a tin-roofed and clay-made room. Zia somehow supported the family working as a day-labourer and tending palm and coconut trees of their in his village and adjacent areas. Arjina also tried to help him working in a factory but she could not continue because of her illness.
More sufferings hit the ill-fated family when Zia, the only breadwinner, got his spine broken as he fell from a palm tree. After taking a long treatment at Faridpur Bangabandhu Sheikh Medical College and Hospital, doctors said he needs a surgery to walk like before but Zia failed to manage the money for it.
Zia now can walk only with the help of a stick. “Our only recourse is a 1300-sqf land we bought by selling a cow we had. And we had bought it with money provided by an NGO.”