When Alfez was less than a year old, his mother Tarannum, concerned by his inability to crawl, took him to see a doctor. The doctor informed her that Alfez was suffering from a congenital disability and asked her if anyone in her family was gas-affected. “I am not gas affected, but I don’t know about Alfez’s father and grandparents” she replied. Unknown to her, Alfez’s father had inhaled the poisonous gases from the Union Carbide factory when he was only 18 months old.
Alfez, now 10, receives daily treatment at Chingari, including speech therapy, occupational therapy and special education. Since attending he has improved body control, diminished issues with sensory stimuli, and has made progress with his visual recognition through art and writing classes. But the biggest change for Alfez, who spent most of his early years alone, has been learning to share and play with other children. His favourite person to spend time with is his cousin Falak, who looks out for him and helps him if he gets upset.
Alfez’s mother Tarannum likes to cook him his favourite meal of rice and dahl and watch him eat, which he can now manage without help. Unknown to him, each and every day she prays for him and the other children, saying “बस ऐसे बच्चों की दबाई बन जाए, अल्लाह पाक की दुआ से” (“may such children have a medical cure by the grace of Allah).”