She likes to draw and wants to travel to Mumbai, a place that she has only read about in her Geography book. Jebin Kousar knows she will one day fulfil the dream and her disability cannot stop her.
Born without her hands, the 17-year-old defied all odds to clear the matriculation exam and become a role model for the children of Gyan Jyoti Academy, a private school in Assam’s Hojai district.
Jebin was one of the 16 students who appeared for the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examination under the Assam Board of Secondary Education (SEBA). Along with her, 11 others scored First Division in the results declared on Friday.
“Our school has scored the First Division after 17 years. We are so proud of Jebin Kousar and the other students. We’ve never let her feel like she was different. Her classmates and teachers have helped her since kindergarten and continue to do so even now. We will always be with her in this journey,” said Principal Afsana Begum Choudhury.
The school authorities have printed Jebin’s picture on the back cover of all student identity cards. It shows the 17-year-old appearing for an exam firmly holding the pen with her feet.
Jebin’s father Abdul Jabbar drives a hired auto, while her mother stays at home. She is the eldest of six daughters living in a small house in Murajhar, 180 kilometres from Guwahati. Her parents are ecstatic about their daughter scoring above 60% in the exam.
“I am very happy for her. I raised my daughter with much difficulty. With one hand I used to cook and feed her with the other. She never took tuitions. In fact, her father was only expecting the Second Division,” says Fateha Begum, Jebin’s mother.
Although celebrations continue in the small village, Jebin’s mother is worried for her daughter, knowing full well that she still has a long way to go. The family makes an income of about Rs 5000 every month, and worries have mounted with her father not keeping good health.
Locals at Murajhar say Jebin is a blessing to her parents. Her feet have the ability to help her go about day-to-day tasks – from lifting the school bag to holding a utensil.
Having decided to enrol in the Arts stream at Mariam Ajmal College in Hojai, Jebin says she wants to be a school teacher.
The Murajhar Guidance Junior Trust has come forward to bear her education costs till Class 12.
A total of 3,37,570 students appeared in the HSLC exam this year, out of which 1,89,191 students cleared the exam. A total of 60,987 students secured First Division. The overall pass percentage stands at 56.04% — an improvement from 47.94% in 2017.