Srinagar: It's a silent revolution of sorts in Kashmir and the person leading it is 16-year-old Arwa Imtiyaz. The Class 10 student from Srinagar plays the crucial role of a translator for over 250 speech and hearing impaired sportspersons registered with the Jammu and Kashmir sports association.
"They faced problems whenever they wanted to communicate with somebody. I saw that nobody was helping them. So I have made it a mission to be with them and help them all through my life," she says.
Arwa derives her passion for serving people with special needs from home. Four of her family members cannot speak or hear. What began as a helping hand for relatives later got expanded to community service. When she was in Class 5, she began accompanying sportspersons with special needs as they travelled with the state, even if that meant skipping her studies.
Arwa's father Imtiyaz Ahmad, an auto driver, says she proud of what his daughter is doing. "She has to miss school sometimes to accompany them to stadium and other places. She faced many difficulties but didn't stop. We gave her all help. The work she is doing is really pious," said Mr Ahmad.
Arwa says she has plans to extend her sphere of service as she grows up. But given her family's meagre earnings, she is banking on the prayers of people she has helped.
"My aim is to become a doctor but my father can't pay my tuition fees. It's now up to God. Maybe, I will be a doctor one day with the help of their prayers," she says.