“You can’t change what’s happened in your past, so before you let it destroy your future;learn to live with it and make the best of what you have"
After a devastating earthquake hit Northern Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir(AJK) survivors are still haunted by the tragic events of October 8, 2005 and reminisce over what they have lost. Forty kilometers away from Muzaffarabad is Balakot, the town which was completely wiped out as it lay on the fault line of the quake. This natural disaster took many lives and changed the lives of millions forever.
Sajida Humayoon was born in Balakot, a beautiful city of district Mansehra. She belongs to a respectful family from Kaghan and her parents migrated to Balakot many years ago. She was getting her education from the Government Girl’s College Balakot. She had to face many difficulties and hardships to get her parents approval for further college education. It was the happiest time of her life and she had many dreams that she wanted to fulfill. She led a peaceful life in her beautiful home with her family and many friends with every comfort in life a young girl could wish for. Little did she know such a disaster was going to turn her world upside down, entirely changing the meaning of her life.
Sajida was home when the earthquake shook the entire nation. She suffered serious injuries, the most serious of them being Spinal Cord Injury that has left her dependent on assistive devices for the rest of her life. After this horrific incident she was taken to Ayub Medical Complex for basic medical treatment for three days. Later she was admitted to Services Hospital Lahore where she received more intensive treatment.
Upon her return back home, she found nothing but ruins of what used to be her beautiful home town. Sajida’s family fully supported her in this difficult time where she felt helpless and shaken by the disaster. Two years that she spent at home with her disability seemed like a never ending nightmare, she felt she had lost the purpose to life. This is when CHAL Foundation intervened and their SCIP center in Balakot gave her an opportunity to live her life as an active and productive individual. The center also provided medical and social rehabilitation to her along with other people with similar disabilities. Sajida claims, “I think SCIP center has played a huge part in development of my personality and it gave me great hope to live with confidence and face the society as a disabled, yet active woman.”
Sajida believes that het visits to PIPOS physiotherapy center in Shohal Najaf Khan for medical rehabilitation was the turning point of her life. “They were merely checkup visits but it was the soft & humble personality of Mr. Bakhat Sarwar that he offered me an opportunity to work in the SCIP center. I was pleasantly surprised”, says Sajida. She started her job as a social worker, but after seeing her keen interest in office management, she was trained to attain computer skills and she was given the post of an office manager. Later she continued her education, an opportunity that was closed for a while and now she is completing her Bachelor’s degree along with her job.
Sajida is currently working for Chal foundation, SCIP Rehab center, Balakot as an Office Manager. It is her responsibility to register all those patients to whom assistive device are prescribed. Hospital admission, transportation arrangement, education support and making of clinical and financial reports are all part of her responsibilities as an Office Manager. She also manages the inventory and the staff in the Balakot SCIP center. The center in return also provides her with medical rehabilitation and prosthesis and orthesis services which have provided her with much needed mobility and independence.
Sajida believes, “To be a disable is not the hardest part, it’s leading a completely different life style that is hard to cope up with. What one needs to learn is how to live with dignity and be independent. The society should appreciate and show acceptance for the disabled persons as equal citizens by giving them a chance to work side by side with the rest of the world.”
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