MALAPPURAM: He was born with more than 90% cerebral palsy. Now aged 16, he earns his own living. He trains the trainers who take care of children with the condition, and is a motivational speaker. He has also traversed the Rohtang Pass in the Himalayas and rafted through the Beas in the valley there, overcoming the confines of a wheelchair. Closer home, he has rafted on the Thejaswini too, in Kasaragod. Meet Amal Iqbal, from Pulikkal near Kondotty in Malappuram.
A Class 10 student at JDT School, Kozhikode, he won the Outstanding Diplomacy Award in the UN Model Parliament held in Muscat in 2019. Amal has also acted in two short films and runs a YouTube channel called Amal Inspires. Amal’s story is that of his father Mohammed Iqbal Valappan too. He took up the challenge of taking Amal out, even to treacherous heights, and taught him to manoeuver gushing waters.
“I dream of watching my son walking to the nearby shop and buying something, all by himself,” says 45-year-old Iqbal. His wife Femina and two daughters too stood firm with Iqbal’s decision to provide wings to Amal’s dreams. “I was unable to eat, dress or stand up on my own as a child. But now I can do all these, thanks to modern physiotherapy and assisting device technology. My request to the government is to make available such expensive equipment to all of us free of cost,” Amal says.
While he was studying at the AMM Lower Primary School in Pulikkal, teacher Hind Basheer noticed that Amal’s memory was exceptionally sharp. A realisation that served as the foundation for today’s Amal, who is brimming with confidence and talent. “I am indebted to many, but Hind teacher was the person who discovered me,” beams Amal.Right from childhood, Iqbal toured with his son to help him gain precious knowledge through experiences and human interaction.
Amal shifted school from Class 7 on the invite of the JDT management. “He has a unique ability to conquer audiences. You ask him about the muscles in the human body, and he would answer in a way that makes you wonder if he isn’t a medical student,” certifies Adeep C, teacher at JDT and Amal’s neighbour.
“Bringing a differently-abled child to the outer world is a challenge I undertook. Even those with 20% disabilities are confined to the wheelchair indoors, which is pathetic,” says Iqbal, who had also directed the two short films that Amal acted in — Murikooti and Amal. Amal urges parents to take their differently-abled kids out so they can enjoy the nature, which is paramount for them to escape the monotony indoors.