Manama: A Moroccan mother, who has been carrying her handicapped son on her back for five years so that he could attend school, has been hailed as an “amazing heroine”.
Rabiaa Roumaili was keeping a promise she made to her son Radwan Sahraoui five years earlier, when his legs, right hand and three of his left hand fingers were amputated when he was nine years old because of complications from meningitis.
“When the blood vessels of his legs and hands died, the doctors of the university hospital in Fez were forced to amputate them. I cried afterwards and suffered a lot,” she told the Hespress news site, while literally picking up her son from his school.
“When Radwan came to know he had lost his limbs, he in shock. He kept crying and asking about the rest of his body. I comforted him and worked on helping him bear the terrible tragedy, and deal with the ordeal. I made a pledge to him that I would never abandon him and that I would always be there for him and with him throughout every aspect of his life, including schooling. He calmed down.”
It took some time, but Radwan gradually overcame his psychological trauma and started to make friends at school and in the neighbourhood, she added.
“Radwan is a sixth grade student at the elementary school, and I carry him on my back, everyday, to school and bring him back home,” the mother said. “He is my priority and I am sacrificing everything for his sake, even though I suffer from a neurological disease that makes me at times lose consciousness.”
Rabiaa said she was forced to carry him on her back as she did not have a wheel chair that is appropriate for her son. “I am afraid the situation will be compounded next year when Radwan moves to middle school as that is farther from our house,” she said.
An appropriate wheelchair or artificial limbs would greatly assist in making sure her son does not face further difficulties that would force him to stop going to school, she added.
Radwan said he was determined pursue his studies despite the formidable challenges.
“My ambition is to become a doctor, a paediatrician who will take care of children and babies so that they would not suffer the way I have,” he said. “That is why I am studying hard and dealing with the various difficulties. I want my dream to come true. My friends are treating me well.”
Schoolteachers said they were doing their best to assist Radwan overcome his handicap.
“We, as teachers, are committed to keeping this ray of light shining. God willed it that Radwan is struck by the tragedy and that we teachers stand by him at all times,” Nozha Anwar said.
“Radwan is studious, and regularly attends school, despite the difficulties he faces. His mother is an outstanding woman, the embodiment of patience and an amazing heroine. She carries her son on her back in all conditions, through cold and hot weather, rain and wind. And she is always all smiles. She is an outstanding example for us, and gives us invaluable lessons in patience. In the few times her son is late, she apologises.”
Nozha said Radwan’s handwriting was beautiful and his drawing skills remarkable.
“He has a great passion for drawing and his work is truly beautiful,” she said.