The two gentlemen in my image is Amien and his Sensei, Adeeb.
Sensei conducts karate classes at my school two days a week. In addition to having it during the school day for the entire student body (it’s been incorporated into the curriculum), he also conducts afternoon classes for the learners who wish to pursue it seriously as a sport, and this past week they had been training for a tournament they competed in this morning.
During their afternoon session this past Thursday, the Sensei brought Amien to me, in tears. He is a diabetic, and his blood sugar levels had dropped so low, that he almost collapsed. We got him to eat something, and after a few minutes, he was smiling again and back on the training mat.
My heart broke. In fact, it still is, and it was hard for me to do what I needed to for him without succumbing to tears that day. Even though he felt so sick, he didn’t want to go home, and had he wanted to, he had no home to go to because their house had burnt down two days before that. The family lost everything.
I chose this picture for two reasons: the happiness on Amien’s face and the pride in Adeeb’s.
Amien won his second gold medal in as many tournaments this afternoon. Despite the tragic circumstances he currently finds himself in, he can still find joy in and excel at something he really loves. We’ve watched him transform himself from a troubled twelve year old, into a happy, polite and motivated one within the space of about eight or nine months. He is the poster child for resilience.
Adeeb has been my colleague for less than a year. My school services a very underprivileged demographic and I’ve watched him make a monumental difference in the lives of so many children who come from the most harrowing backgrounds. He’s taken a particular interest in Amien, because the positive change in him has been so startling. The image above clearly shows that his efforts are paying off.
“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” Sums up their relationship perfectly, but it is a piece of advice we all should heed, whether we’re parents or not.