Never Give Up

Namitha Mary Abraham shares her inspiring story of grit and determination to overcome the odds and excel in school.

Namitha Mary Abraham, a Grade 10 student of GEMS Our Own English High School – Dubai (OOD), passed the CBSE board examination with 86.2 per cent. You’d be forgiven for asking, what’s so special about that? Well, Namitha has been wheelchair-bound for the last four years following a brain tumour that impacted her motor skills and forced her to quit regular schooling. As a result of her condition, she is barely able to walk, needs help with her daily chores, and speaks haltingly.

However, none of this dampened her spirits and her will to excel. That’s why she persuaded her parents to approach her alma mater to take her back, and in September 2018 she rejoined OOD in Grade 9 after a break of two years. Supported by her classmates and teachers, Namitha’s perseverance has become a shining example of courage and determination.

Make no mistake, the CBSE board exam was a challenge, but the school supported Namitha by providing exemptions, extra time, and a scribe, Divyalakshmi Vardharajan. Together, they tackled the exams one at a time, with teachers stepping in to support in every way they could. The result? Namitha passed with flying colours, with 92 per cent in English, 87 per cent in Foundation of IT, 65 per cent in Science, and 88 per cent in Social Studies – and all topped off with a whopping 99 per cent in her Painting examination.

What made you want to return to OOD following your surgery?

My reason for returning to OOD after surgery was that I’d been with GEMS Education since KG1 and found it quite difficult to leave. It’s a great privilege to study at a GEMS Education school. My parents also liked the management and curriculum of OOD. The school has a pleasant and positive atmosphere, encourages students to show their talents, and supervises each and every student individually. I appreciate the different managing sections and the support available at OOD. I’m also grateful for and appreciate the hard work of the principal, headmistress, heads of department, supervisors, and all the teachers for their hard work in maintaining and bringing up each student, and showing them a better way.

What kind of support did the school give you in terms of access to classrooms and the building, during lessons and your exams?

The school supported me in various ways and I am thankful for the help I received. They offered wheelchair supporters and a comfortable chair for me to sit on in classrooms. The teachers taught me very well, they gave me student books to study, and provided me with a scribe to write for me during exams. All the aunties were willing to help me, too.

How supportive were the students? How did they help you?

The students were very supportive. They encouraged and appreciated me for my artwork and drawings. They helped me get from one classroom or lab to another, and they shared their lesson notes and helped me catch up if I was unable to attend a class.What message would you like to give other students of determination who may face challenges at school?
The message I would like to give all students is not to get stressed or fear exams and tests, but to be confident that you have studied and that God is with and here for you. Also, make sure you prepare for exams and don’t leave things to the last moment.

What do you think schools can do to better support students with specific needs?

As with other students, the school should offer people of determination the opportunity to study up to Grade 12, and also organise activities for those with special needs so students can discover their talents.