His name is Abdul Malik.
He is one of the most inspirational educators I have ever come across. One of the stories I have included in the Human Touch presentations I have made in person and online, is that of Abdul.
The men and women who have the right ideals . . . are those who have the courage to strive for the happiness which comes only with labor and effort and self-sacrifice, and those whose joy in life springs in part from power of work and sense of duty.
Every morning he sets off to cross the river in his town, in order to get to school. He could use a vehicle or public transport, but it would take him over three hours. By wading in the river, he arrives in fifteen minutes and to his students much faster, as he says. He swims with a tyre-tube around him, and his clothes and food in a plastic bag over his head. When he reaches the river bank right across, he puts on some dry clothes and walks uphill for another ten minutes, arriving at school where his enthusiastic students are waiting for him.
Apart from teaching them the school subjects, Abdul also teaches them how to swim. He not only shows interest in the kids’ learning, but also their well-being, by teaching them how to swim and avoid the danger of being in the water. He teaches them great human values by swimming in dirty waters every morning to get to them on time.
This story makes me think about teachers all around the world, and what they do in order to get to class, to teach their kids. Each one of them is wading their own waters.
- using their own money to equip their classroom
- pretending they are ok when they are sick / with a throbbing headache / with problems at home
- taking multiple types of transport to reach school
- skipping lunch to help kids during the break
- fighting adverse administration at school
- working with no moral / financial support from anyone
- missing out on free time or time with their families to get work done.
When we think of the students and what progress they make and how much they can be helped, as much as how much they teach us during the week, it makes it all worth it.
So in one way or another, we are all wading our own waters, metaphorically or literally, just like Abdul.
Here is a video about him and his wonderful students: