He Can’t Walk but He Can Fly HighWebmaster
Accidents can happen anytime, any day, and change our lives considerably. One moment, Pahang-born Mohd Huzaire Ahmad was on a rambutan tree at his fiancé’s house in Perak, cutting off branches, and the next moment, he was on the ground, spine broken.
“I can’t ever forget the date it happened – 14 December 1999. I had been in the final semester of my studies at a teachers’ training college. At 24, I became paralysed from the waist down, my fiancé left me, and I lost my chance to become a teacher.”
Two years later, the skies brightened for Huzaire when he was given a chance to do his practicum. He went on to become a music teacher and even obtained a bachelor’s degree in primary school music education.
Challenges continued to come and Huzaire continued to overcome them, with his wife by his side. “She is an administrative assistant at the school where I teach. Each school day, she would carry my wheelchair while I would go up the stairs on my own. I didn’t want to burden anyone else.”
As a person with disabilities (PWD), Huzaire is not immune from discrimination and disrespect. “At one point, I felt unappreciated at work, so my wife encouraged me to do my master’s. I took her words seriously and enrolled in the Master of Education programme at OUM in 2020.”
The learning environment suited him well. “Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I attended only three face-to-face classes before all the classes were shifted online. So I didn’t have to worry about how to get to classes anymore. There were also other motivating factors, such as the 40% discount on study fees for PWDs, flexible mode of learning, easy-to-understand courses, and friendly and fast-to-act staff.”
In his 20 years as a teacher, Huzaire has won a total of 13 awards, far more than most able-bodied teachers have. Last May, he was one of 25 teachers nationwide who won Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s 2022, which honours and shows appreciation to teachers under the Ministry of Education who go beyond their call of duty.
Huzaire, who teaches at SK Felda Mempaga 2 in Pahang, has also written three anthologies and is in the midst of writing a motivational book based on his life experiences.
“This master’s is not the end of my education. I plan to do a PhD next, also at OUM. And then become a senator after retirement. Education is a weapon for PWDs. We are always being looked down upon by some members of society. When we study more, we will be respected and valued more.”