DUSCU leader on wheelchair wants to spread wings

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Differently-abled DUCSU member-elect Joshiah Sangma Chibol, popularly known as Chibol Sangma. Photo: BSSDifferently-abled Joshiah Sangma Chibol, popularly known as Chibol Sangma, was elected as member of the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU) elections emerging as a highest vote-receiving aspirant among member candidates, reports BSS.

Twenty-four year-old Sangma, a Masters student of Sanskrit language department and a member of Garo community, was not even born when the last DUCSU polls were held in 1990.

Getting admission to the DU under 2014-15 sessions, ever-smiling Sangma, who could not move without wheelchair since he is 1-year-old, attained the status to be a member of DUCUS in the much-talked about 11 March polls that held after nearly three decades.

It was, however, not an easy journey for him to be a DUCSU leader as his entire life went through different hurdles.

In 1995, he was born with a rare genetic disease Osteigenesis Imperfecta (OI), a fragile bone condition from birth, to NGO worker Phanindra Sangma and housewife Botika Sangma, resident of Mirpur in Dhaka and hailed from Dhobaura upazila in Mymensingh.

“I am on wheelchair since I am 1-year-old. I face different problems throughout my student life. Top schools in Dhaka denied receiving my admission as the authorities had beliefs that especially abled students like me could not cope with the competition with normal students,” Sangma told BSS on Friday.

He, who was student of second grade school in the capital, said the school authorities considered the necessary measures and extra cares that should be taken for physically challenged students as a burden on them.

“For example, my school authority could not give me classroom facilities in ground floor for my easier movement,” he added.

Becoming a student of Dhaka University has opened new doors for Sangma to dream bigger.

“Defying all impediments, my indomitable willingness helped me get admission to Dhaka University, which was a dream for me. Coming to the university campus, I found values, principles and humanitarian qualities in the minds of students and teachers who encouraged me to go ahead to reach my dreams,” he observed.

“Before the long-overdue DUCSU polls, Bangladesh Chhatra League’s DU unit president Sonjit Chandra Das and general secretary Hussain Saddam offered me to be a nominee of the students’ organisation formed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the architect of independent Bangladesh,” he said.

“Without any more exchange of words, I accepted the offer and became the BCL nominee to contest the polls,” he said.

“Finally in the 11 March polls, I was elected member of the prestigious DUCSU bagging 12,868 votes, emerging as a highest vote receiving aspirant among member candidates,” he said.

After being elected member of the DUCSU, now he wants to implement the pledges he made before the polls for realising the rights of common students.

“I will raise my voice not only as a representative of common students but also an envoy of differently abled students like me who face different problems in their life. I will voice for making the university thoroughfares, buildings, toilets, classrooms and other establishments physically challenged friendly,” he said.

He wants to strengthen the existing friendly relations among students of all communities.

“My areas of works will be ensuring access of wheelchair users at administrative building, central library and academic building,” he said.

Sangma wants to continue his efforts for establishing rights of all kinds of physically challenged students and people.

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