Where there is a will, there is a way goes the saying in English and for 28 year old Ummul Kher perhaps this defines her very existence and triumphs over the years. As a youngster who had a rare bone disease, the young girl had to go through a lot. Being a girl in India means that you stay back home and take care of people. For Ummul, the purpose of life was different. She wanted to study, spread her wings and fly and obviously touch the stars.
Suffering from a fragile bone disorder meant that she was always discriminated towards and cared less for.
At 14, her parents disowned her because she wanted to study beyond Class 8. Merit and the willingness to fight back took her to greater heights in her choice of field.
Having had to move out of her home and stay in the slums, she did not lose hope. She took tuitions, earned her living and paid her rent from the money.
Kher scored 91% in Class 12 and got admission in Gargi College where she continued to fund her education through tuitions.
She not just took admission in DU, but also later entered JNU for her master’s. She has now cracked the civil services exam in her first attempt.
With an all India rank 420, she now hopes to get IAS under disability quota.
Having received 16 fractures and eight surgeries she came to Delhi from Rajasthan when she was around five years old. With a father into street vendorship, she faced several hiccups in life.
Kher studied in the Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for The Physically Handicapped, where she studies till Class 5. She went to Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust where she studied till Class 8.
Hoping to study at Arwachin Bharti Bhawan senior secondary school she was confident of things to fall in place, but the family did not support her.
She was abused and parents heaped scorn on her.
Disgruntled she left home and took up a place in Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) Cluster, Trilokpuri.
Her tuition skills clicked and then came in the money.
After Class 8, Kher’s education was backed by Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust. They helped her.
In 2012, she met a small accident and was confined to a wheelchair for a year due to her bone disorder.
She was getting Rs 2,000 means-cum-merit scholarship and did not have to give tuitions. By 2013, she cracked a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) under which she started getting Rs 25,000 per month.
In a world where an ailment or a handicap means that you stay either housebound or dependent on others, Ummul Kher has shown such people the way to live with courage and dignity. It is also important that parents support their children in trying times like the one that Ummul faced in her life.