Waseem Kumbhar, 13, has been kept in chains by his mother, Fatima Kumbhar, for the past five years.
This family of Badin has been leading a hard life since the death of the boy’s father seven years ago. Allah Dino, who was a craftsman by profession, had cancer. After his death, Fatima and Waseem were left to fend for themselves.
Fatima recalls that Waseem’s condition began after he contracted fever but was not given proper treatment. Since then, his mental capacity has been decreasing gradually.
“I tried to buy medicines for him without whatever money I had, but I was unable to complete treatment,” she told daily Sindh Express.
She worries that if she does not keep him chained, he will leave the house and get lost. Fatima earns her livelihood by making dung cakes.
If she stays home to look after her son, the two of them will not be able to survive, she said. “I have to leave home early in the morning every day and come back at noon.”
She admits that it is difficult for her to take her son to the doctor because she has to roam around the entire city, looking for dung. “It is difficult to visit doctors in such a situation when earning for two meals a day is not an easy job.”
The doctors believe, however, that the boy can recover if he is treated properly. “He needs proper treatment and food,” advised Dr Shujjat Hussain Khwaja. “His recovery would be difficult, if he is not treated right away and is kept in chains.”
Torn between her family’s survival and her son’s special needs, Fatima worries what will happen to Waseem after her. She has visited several officials but no one has extended any help. “I am living among rich people but no one even bothers to look at me and my son.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2013.