(ERGO) – Ismail Rage has become the first disabled person to get a staff job with a leading bank in Somalia.
Two days after graduating from Simad University with a Bachelors in banking and finance, Ismail, 22, landed the job with Premier Bank in Mogadishu. He is working in the customer care department.
Ismail, who became ill with polio as a three-year old, used the wheelchair given to him by his uncle after graduation to get to work.
He comes from a humble background and used to crawl for 40 minutes through the dusty Mogadishu roads to get to classes, using flip flops to protect his hands and leather pads strapped to his knees.
“I can forget all the hardships in my life with the milestone I have now reached that I dreamed about,” Ismail said.
Ismail lived in Gubta area, with his nine siblings and parents, who he says were his “biggest inspiration” and played an important role in earning him his coveted university degree.
As a bright student he was always top of his class. His teachers and fellow students treated him as an equal.
“He was like our second teacher, who would help us with the class work,” said Fadumo Abdi Jama, one of the class of 2017 students, who graduated with Ismail.
Ismail received congratulatory messages from President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo on his twitter handle. The former president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, promised to pay for Ismail’s master’s degree in Malaysia, where his is expected to go in September. He also got job offers from the ministry of finance.
Polio paralyzed his lower body in childhood. At the time, people were ignorant about the importance of vaccination for children. Somalia was recently declared polio free, and campaigns to launch the oral polio vaccination targeting 700,000 children in Benadir and Middle and Lower Shabelle have begun.
Ismail says he hopes to set up an organization to advance the interests and opportunities for other Somalis with special needs.