By Winter Johnson
A lover of football, big smiles and playing carom, 13-year-old Farhan experienced a massive life change in 2020, when an unfortunate connection with his kite and a high wire led to electrocution, burning his hands so badly that he had to have them amputated. Undaunted, Farhan was determined to keep up with his studies – returning to the HOPE Foundation School in Bhuj, Gujarat in 2021, and deciding to learn to write with his mouth. He dreams of being a footballer one day, but for now, he is enjoying hanging out with his friends and studying English at school.
We caught up with Farhan and his mom Jamilaben to learn more about his journey.
HWW: Farhan, writing with your mouth was a super creative way for you to keep up with your studies. How did you come up with the idea?
Farhan: In my tuition I was playing by keeping a pen in my mouth, and my tuition teacher thought it was a great idea. She asked me to try writing and it happened.
HWW: How did you feel returning to school after your injury?
Farhan: My family members supported me and told me that school will make me feel happy. It was true. I love coming to school because it’s a beautiful environment. I love the teachers, my friends and the games we play.
HWW: It seems like you have a lot of friends. How do they support you?
Farhan: Yes! My friends help me by carrying my bag and they come with me to drink water. If my sheet, which is like a shawl that goes over my shoulders and arms, slips from my shoulders they put it back. They provide me with their notes if my notes are incomplete. They also help me buy food from our school canteen.
HWW: Jamilaben, may I ask what Farhan’s recovery process was like?
Jamilaben: He is a very strong boy. After this accident he went through a lot, but still he didn’t give up. He never cried in front of us during that time and that is a big thing.
HWW: How do you think he has coped with the changes in his life?
Jamilaben: I can tell he gets angry and frustrated with little things like not being able to eat by himself or having to attend marriage functions with me etc., but he never shows his emotions. He insists on doing things by himself and doesn’t like taking anyone’s help. But I am a mother and I help him with everything even though he doesn’t like it.
HWW: How have you had to cope as parents?
Jamilaben: It was a very hard time, and it was a very heart-breaking incident for us. I didn’t know my son lost his hands. I found out months after the accident when he returned from his treatment. I was in Bhuj and Farhan’s uncle took him Ahmedabad for treatment. As my family knew I wouldn’t be able to bear the shock, they didn’t tell me. So, it was a very heart-breaking experience. But we as parents must be strong for our son, so we did that.
HWW: It seems like Farhan has a strong spirit. How would you describe him to people who don’t know him?
Jamilaben: Yes, Farhan is a very strong boy. He loves to play games especially football. He always keeps smiling — and makes others smile too.