The disabled boy who crawls to school
Silkina Ahluwalia

Abdul Holik's walk to school is anything but ordinary. The brave eight-year-old was born prematurely with a physical disability that resulted in his feet and legs severely deformed. However, his enthusiasm for school outperforms his physical limitations.

Each day, he has to make his way through steep paths and rocky surfaces with a knapsack strapped to his back and his hands slipped into a pair of sandals. Abdul has never allowed his condition to become an obstacle for him. His mother, Pipin, remembers when Abdul was just three years old and begging her to send him to school. 

"He told me he wants to learn how to read and be like everyone else. I was confused at first because I wasn't sure which school would take in a disabled child," said Pipin.

The worry kept her awake most nights. It took her weeks to finally find a school that accepted Abdul despite his limitations. That school is located six kilometers from their house. At first, Pipin thought it was impossible for her son to attend the school as there are no bus services at their small village in Sukabumi, West Java. 

Abdul dreams of attending university in the big city. /CGTN Photo

Abdul dreams of attending university in the big city. /CGTN Photo

But the family was determined. They slowly began teaching Abdul to walk on his hands. At first, Pipin would accompany Abdul's walk to school every day but now he is comfortable enough to navigate the rocky roads himself. 

From his house up in the hills to his school, Abdul crosses steep paths every day. When the rainy season arrives, the road is very slippery and dangerous, which poses a risk to Adul. On days like that, his parents try to use motorcycle taxis, a common means of transport in the village. A one-kilometer ride costs IDR7,000, less than one U.S. dollar. Pipin says it depends on whether they have the money to spare. If there is no money, Abdul continues his crawl to school by hand. 

At school, Abdul's principal recalls the first day he attended class. Epi Mulyadi saw huge potential in Abdul. His zest for learning ultimately won him over and Edi decided to immediately enroll him in his school. 

Epi Mulyadi sees huge potential in Abdul's zest for learning. /CGTN Photo

Epi Mulyadi sees huge potential in Abdul's zest for learning. /CGTN Photo

"When Abdul registered in the school, I could tell his mother was nervous. But I reassured her, there is nothing wrong with Abdul aside from his physical disabilities. We see that he can follow along in the classroom just fine and he has no problems socializing with his friends," said Epi. 

Abdul is currently in the third grade. His teachers describe him as a child with high enthusiasm and diligence in his schoolwork. Epi also said that even though he has physical limitations, Abdul is very active in participating in extracurricular activities, especially in sports.

For Abdul himself, his dream is simple. He wants to excel in school so he can achieve his dream of attending university in the big city.

"My dream is to become a firefighter because I want to help people in need. I also just want to make my parents happy," said Abdul. 

Since he was a toddler, Abdul has been asking his parents to attend school to learn how to read and write. /CGTN Photo

Since he was a toddler, Abdul has been asking his parents to attend school to learn how to read and write. /CGTN Photo

Besides that, it turns out that he has other ideals, namely becoming a doctor. Likewise, if you become a doctor, he continued, the goal is also the same, to help other people, especially those who are experiencing pain.

Despite his physical disability, Abdul continues to strive for his dreams by being an active and enthusiastic child in school. His zest for life and learning has given him the opportunity to go far and his support system is helping to push him even further into his bright future. 

(Top image: Abdul Holik navigates through steep pathways and rocky roads on his walk to school every day. /CGTN Photo)