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Taunts, jeers failed to deter this Lakshadweep man from spreading joy

Ummer Farook K K

Meet Ummer Farook K K, a remarkable 40-year-old individual who, despite enduring taunts and stares due to a facial deformity caused by a rare medical condition known as Leontiasis Ossea, has dedicated himself to bringing happiness to physically disabled people.

Leontiasis Ossea, a rare disorder characterised by abnormal growth of facial bones, presented Ummer Farook with numerous challenges from a young age. Throughout his childhood and adolescence, he faced relentless teasing and discrimination from peers and even strangers. Despite the hurtful comments and stares, Ummer Farook refused to let his condition define him.

He was determined to build a life that really focused on bringing smiles to the faces of the people who need support. Though he started schooling very late at the age of nine because of his medical condition, he never allowed the mental trauma of being a victim of jeers and taunts to affect his studies. After completing his graduation from MES College, Ponnani, he did his post-graduation and secured a job as a junior librarian at the Government Senior Secondary School in Lakshadweep.

“Disabled people should not be ridiculed for their disability. They need support and should be encouraged to raise their self-esteem so that they feel like being part of the community. They need empathy and not sympathy,” Ummer Farook told “Open Digest“.

He added that he was blessed to have teachers, friends, and family who supported him and gave him the confidence to be what he is today.

Through sheer perseverance, Ummer not only learned to accept himself but also embarked on a mission to help others facing similar adversities. He became actively involved in various support groups and organizations dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities. His experiences equipped him with empathy and understanding, allowing him to connect deeply with others facing challenges.

In January 2011, he, along with other community members, founded the Lakshadweep Differently Abled Welfare Association, an NGO which works in association with the Union Territory Administration to redress the grievances of the differently-abled and fight for their rights. In 2020, he established ‘Chakkara,’ the first-ever Center for Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled in Lakshadweep, to provide care and support to people with physical disabilities.

As Ummer reflects on his journey, he offers a simple yet profound message to others facing similar challenges: “Do not let anyone define your worth. Embrace your uniqueness and strive to make a positive difference in the world.”

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