Imphal, June 3,
The Indian Success Story of Polio Eradication is known across the world. Long after years when our nation was declared Polio free, there are cases which pop up that remind us of the sordid state in which a polio patient is left with once it is infected by the deadly virus thereby shaking our conscience, telling us that there is so much more desired to be achieved. One such case has been MS Thietham who at a tender age of twenty is ridden with the disease which she picked up when she was mere six months old. You would imagine a twenty year old girl bustling with dreams and ambitions and chuckling around with her bunch of ‘gitl pals’ smitten by the beauty of the hills surrounding her residence. But not Theithem. She has had to fight with the agony of having to drag herself slowly and painstakingly as her body below her waist lies paralyzed. Deep within the confines of her one room thatched apartment which she calls home, she knew that she would never get the opportunity to move out of her house. Alas, she found happiness in creativity. She would spend hours trying to bring life to the artificial flowers that she would create out of litter.
Theithem belongs to a green hill far far away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. A place called Tuitong which lies near Sehlon which is in the Samtal Salient of Chandel District. An extremely remote place devoid of basic amenities, the place would offer her nothing but despair. The grapevine has it that an officer of Sehlon Battalion of Assam Rifles saw her plight. He was so impressed by the grit and determination of the young girl that the Sehlon Battalion took upon itself to support her. Sehlon Battalion of Assam Rifles forms part of IGAR (South) which is located at Mantripukhri.
Sehlon Battalion inspired with Theithem’s will to fight decided to adopt her. In order to pave way for her economic reliance the Assam Rifles unit started providing her with raw materials required for the handicrafts and helping her with acquiring skills to attain export quality finishing products.The unit is also organizing formal training for her wherein she will be trained at Arts and Crafts Training Centre, Thoubal, for one year.
The school is a Government of Manipur initiative.
Yesterday the girl was also gifted with a Wheel Chair, something which she had seen for the first time. Now whenever you cross the village, you can witness the young girl moving around on her own boasting a twinkle in her eyes. We can only hope and pray that the Samtal Samaritans can finally get her to stand on her own feet.