This article was originally published in the August 2018 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Imraz stands 3 feet tall. He is 9 years old.
His legs are stuck in a 90 degree position. Imraz is the only son of Soumya, who rents a hut in the Modi Road area of Bangalore, India.
Modi Road is a slum, a conglomeration of lean-tos, shacks, shelters and huts.
Modi Road in Bangalore, India.
Ninety-five percent of the people living there are Muslim. Many of the men in this area “handle” the oppression they live with by turning to alcohol. This exacerbates their families’ already financially vulnerable position.
Imraz’s mother tried to protect him from the embarrassment and humiliation she thought he would experience because of his unusual stature. She carried him wherever he went.
Although Imraz is a bright boy and able to do schoolwork, he was ignored by local schools because of his physique.
This exclusion from education would have been Imraz’s sentence to a life of begging, dependence and welfare, were it not for ITMI partner, Taru Kumar.
ITMI's Taru Kumar.
Taru welcomed Imraz into her small primary school, one of the ministries she and her husband, David, provide through their outreach to women and children of Modi Road.
Imraz began attending Deepam School, and David and Taru also began meeting with the boy and his mother for counseling.
They learned that though Imraz had physical differences, he was just like the others his age emotionally, in spirit, and in mental capacity. While at school, he has shown that he is playful, bright and active.
Imraz thriving at Deepam School.
Imraz’s will to do things on his own has been an inspiration and joy to the Kumars and others at the school.
After just a week of counseling with Imraz and Soumya, Imraz began walking the 500 meters home from school. He’d never done that - or been allowed to do that - before.
“He is a wonderful kid with lots of talents,” Taru says, “All he needs is a little encouragement.”
Deepam school is truly a blessing to the community of Modi Road, especially to marginalized students like Imraz and Ayan (ITMI Monthly, May 2018) who have nowhere else to turn.
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.