Visually impaired Sarower Hossen Khan is an assistant librarian at the central library of the University of Dhaka. Once when he was a child, his parents took him to a local quack doctor as he was suffering from dysentery. A high dosage of medicine prescribed by the quack doctor – inappropriate for a child – took his eyesight.
One of his neighbours used to work for visually impaired people and suggested that his mother admit him to a school for visually impaired children.
"The journey was never smooth", said Sarower who received his primary, secondary and higher secondary education from that institution.
Sharing a snippet from his life, Sarower expressed, "I have faced many difficulties and also accepted that challenges are never going to end in my life." Before sitting for his HSC exam, Sarower's transcriber bailed on him. He thought it was all over but luckily managed to get another transcriber on short notice.
Sarwoer had an indomitable spirit. He was involved in many extra-curricular activities. "I earned almost 50 certificates as acknowledgment for my extra-curricular activities. Some people neglected me while some offered inspiration – but both worked as encouragement for me to achieve my goals," he shared.
Sarwoer graduated from the University of Dhaka with a degree in political science. During his graduate studies, he worked part-time at the radio for a few years. The payment was meager – despite that, he had to make compromises for the job as not many people were keen on offering jobs to handicapped people.
The fight was even harder after he graduated. Private or public sector – he was not getting any job owing to his visual impairment.
He said, "Even though I was educated, I was not getting a job, neither in the government nor private organisations, as I was visually impaired. My mind went blank and did not know what to do. Nonetheless, sitting and doing nothing was not helping me in my career. So, I applied for M.Phil. but as usual I was not selected."
He was at the end of his wits about this new challenge on his way. Failing to get selected for M.Phil. at his first attempt, he was successful the second time – he finished his degree acquiring the second position in the merit list.
With his friend's helpful suggestion, he sent his MPhil thesis paper to Bangla Academy for publication. The paper got published in 2010. This very thesis paper obtained him the respect to become a lifetime member of Bangla Academy – the first time for any visually impaired person.
After 13 whole years of him graduating from an esteemed university with flying colours, he was offered his first official job in the capacity of an assistant librarian at the DU central library.
Sarower's life has changed for better – he is now married and even has a child. "These are gifts from the Almighty," said Sarwoer, holding onto his daughter's fingers.