Noor Ul Ain, Biotechnologist

Rawalpindi, Pakistan

“When I was only two weeks old, I caught a fever. The paediatrician inoculated me wrong in the buttock. A few days later, my right leg started swelling and I was crying of the pain. My father took me back to the same paediatrician who denied doing anything wrong. A month later, I was getting worse. So, finally my father took me to a hospital. The infection had spread to the bone and the affected bone had to be removed by surgery. I was kept in the ICU for a month. Only my mother was allowed in to feed me. That little me didn't give up on life. People kept telling my parents ‘she won’t walk so stop wasting your energy on this child.’ But they were all proven wrong when I started walking at 10 months old. I was limping but I was walking.

I was bullied in school. I remember after my second surgery at the age of seven, the doctor advised me not to sit on hard surfaces and upon request, my school permitted a special chair for me. One morning I came to class and as I sat on the chair, I fell down. Someone had broken its leg. Children started making fun of me calling me "langri" (limp). So what if I limp? It doesn't make me less than anyone else. After my high school, my parents again took me to an orthopaedic surgeon hoping to fix my leg. I was 15 by then. It stunned me when the doctor after examining me said, ‘Unfortunately, such girls are not accepted in our society.’ Now I had to earn acceptance as well. Thus, I started chasing achievement, recognition and acceptance. I always wanted to stand out. I won the Vice Chancellor’s Gold Medal in my master’s program in biotechnology. I’m a researcher and contributing my part to society as a responsible citizen. But in my race for achievement, I forgot to acknowledge myself. I never opened up about myself, especially my disability, how I feel about it after all these years and how I carried it. I found it difficult to say a word about me being disable. I couldn't find the right words to express myself. Today, I’m much more comfortable with myself. To me now, achievement is every single moment I am living.” Noor Ul Ain, Biotechnologist


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