MALAPPURAM: Mohammed Shanil was just one when he contracted polio. The disease paralysed him from waist down. But his family did not give up on him, and Shanil grew up determined to fight all odds. Thirty-two years later, having achieved several life goals, he has made a serious effort to make Kerala a better place for differently-abled people. “The differently-abled too like to live independently,” Shanil says. “But the lack of adequate disabled-friendly facilities in both public and private areas prevents them from doing so and contributing to the welfare of society.”
A resident of Pang in Malappuram, he is forced to eat inside his car while travelling as the hotel and restaurant infrastructure is unfriendly to the differently-abled, he says. So he chose to become an accessibility auditor, who helps individuals and organisations set up differently-abled-friendly buildings.“I can provide measurements for ramps and doors and other facilities required for the purpose,” Shanil explains.
Having done an online course on the subject, he has helped create several such buildings in the state since 2019. He says, even after acquiring an MBA from Bharathiar University, he found it tough to get a job. “Most of the interviewers didn’t consider my qualifications. They thought they would have to make major infra changes at their offices,”Shanil finally gained a manager’s job in 2015, at a dental centre in Malappuram. An intense desire to work for the differently-abled saw Shanil joining the SAHAI Trust in Coimbatore.
“I conducted 12 camps in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and 25 people were shifted to the trust’s rehabilitation centre. It provides physiotherapy and other treatment to the differently-abled persons for three months,” he says.Shanil, who now runs a Jan Aushadhi medical store at Pang, is planning to start a clinic soon. He is also part of Takshan Creative, a company that helps market the handicraft items created by the differently-abled.Born to Ahamadkutty and Jameela, he is married to Jasna.