Payyannur: Fifteen-year-old Afra is elated to know that the schools in Kerala are set to re-open after a long shutdown owing to COVID-19. But her father Ashraf, who is an autorickshaw driver, is not too happy after hearing the same piece of news because has to carry his daughter, suffering from cerebral palsy, whenever she has to get out of the house.
Ashraf's house is near the small bridge at Vadipram near Kavvayi. Ashraf and his wife Unaisa got this house and a plot a year ago after the municipality, Jamaath committee, relatives and fellow drivers pitched in to help. But the path leading to his house is too narrow, just 3 feet, for an autorickshaw to enter.
For the autorickshaw to reach their house, the path should at least have a width of 8 ft. But Ashraf does not want to trouble those who helped him set up the house by demanding land to widen the path.
People at Vadipram are familiar with the sight of Ashraf carrying his daughter down the narrow path for more than 300 metres. Ashraf could be seen struggling to control his daughter’s excitement when she goes out. To add to his worries a small canal fringes a side of the path.
Most of the money that Ashraf earns is spent on his daughter's treatment.
Ashraf is aware that travelling to school would be good for Afra, who has been staying at home ever since the pandemic struck. Even her regular physiotherapy treatment had to be stopped.
Asraf is looking for ways to take Afra to school at least once in a while, after the educational institutions open in the state.