My name is Eti. I am fourteen years old and I live in Bangladesh.
From when I was six years old I have had rheumatoid arthritis in my body. All my joints were swelling. I had serious pain; no-one could touch my legs or joints because they were so painful. We tried treatment in different places but all was in vain. My life changed from that time. For the next year I was just staying at home.
I was supposed to be in school. My parents tried to enrol me but no school would accept me. They said I needed to go to a special school for children with a disability. That school was far away from home, so it was not possible for me to go there. Staying home was my only option. At that time I was very sad. I felt that everybody else had the opportunity to get an education but it was not possible for me. I cried at my home.
Then I came into contact with the local organisation GUK and they wanted to know my story. They provided me with therapy and a wheelchair, so it is easier for me to get around. They also said that they would try to admit me into the school. At first the school still said it was not possible for me to enrol in school because of my mobility problem. But the GUK people talked with them and convinced them, and that very day they had to admit me.
When I was admitted into primary school there was no ramp. But as I continued, they built a ramp and it was easier for me to access the classroom. Now that I am in high school there is no ramp in the school. My friends carry me with the wheelchair to get onto the landing. My favourite subject is English.
At the moment, I am facing a problem with my education. My primary school was near my home, and it was easy for me to go to school. But now my school is a little bit far away, my parents or my friends have to push me in my wheelchair. If they are not available then I have to take a rickshaw. But this is not always possible, so now I miss my school more than before. I feel bad about this as everybody else is able to attend school but I am not always going.
I am an active member of a Local Ambassador Group. I like the group because once every month we gather together. We also talk about many topics, especially our rights, and I like this very much. If any of the group members or other people with disabilities face problems, we go together to solve the problem. For example, if someone is having trouble getting loans or other services provided by the government through the social service department, we go to the officials to discuss.
Photographer: Wahid Adnan/Drik/CDD/CBM Australia, Bangladesh
Image Copyright: © 2011 CDD/CBM Australia