Published: 13th April 2020
This 14-year-old Kochi boy with Down Syndrome donated his entire pension to the CM's Relief Fund to help fight COVID-19
Irfan Sakeer handed over the cheque to the Ernakulam Collector S Suhas on Saturday. He is a student of Vimukthi Special School
Irfan Sakeer does not know what the COVID-19 pandemic is all about. A 14-year-old with Down Syndrome, he does not know that the deadly virus has spread like a wildfire all around the globe and has wiped out more than a lakh people from the planet. What he knows is that the people around him are in distress and that they need help.
On Saturday, he handed over the entire pension amount he received from the Kerala Government to the Ernakulam Collector S Suhas, to be donated to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. "Irfan watches the news regularly and has been seeing how people around us are hungry and are suffering," says his father Sakeer K A. A political activist, Sakeer says that Irfan accompanies him these days when he goes out for relief activities and food distribution.
"I take Irfan whenever I go out to distribute food and relief materials. He is a hyperactive child and it mostly becomes difficult for my wife and mother to handle him. He is incapable of understanding how bad the virus is, but I tell him how people donate money to help the others in need," says Sakeer. That was when the Kerala government released all its pending pension amounts. "Until March, Irfan received Rs 1,200 per month. In April, it was increased to Rs 1,300. Last week, Irfan received around Rs 6,100, the pensions amounts for December, January, February, March and April. I asked him if we wanted to donate the money and he was immediately on board," says Sakeer.
Irfan was diagnosed with Down Syndrome when he was five. Even though he attended a regular school for a few years, he now goes to Vimukthi Special School in Kochi. "Irfan is a very talented and vibrant child," says Minimol Yoyoke, the school's principal. "He was quite hyperactive initially, but now he's improved a lot. He is very helpful and is talented in acting and Mimicry," she says.
"Irfan had asked me to post his photograph with the collector on Facebook and said that he will get a lot of 'likes' for the post," laughs Sakeer. "He loves Malayalam actor Mohanlal. He hopes that Mohanlal sees the post and clicks a photo with him someday," he says.