Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Farida Raj illuminates multiple sclerosis through ‘Unbreakable Spirit’

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Hyderabad’s mainstream teacher turned remedial educator, Farida Raj, who is soon going to launch her new book on multiple sclerosis, speaks to The Pioneer about raising awareness about the medical condition and being an aid for the patients.
SHIKHA DUGGAL
Farida Raj, a former mainstream teacher in Hyderabad who is now a remedial educator, wrote the first book in Indian history on a medical or non-medical subject, ‘Unbreakable Spirit,’ which explores the little-known condition of multiple sclerosis.
Beyond her creative output, however, Farida is a source of inspiration for people with multiple sclerosis, those who care about them, and everybody who wants to learn more about how resilient the human spirit can be when faced with hardship. She is proof of the ability to overcome the difficulties presented by a complicated situation via knowledge, empathy, and teamwork, finally showing the way to a happier, more fulfilling existence.
She is a member of the Hyderabad branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India’s executive committee. Her affiliation with the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and her non-profit organisation’s focus on the welfare of individuals impacted by MS are what convinced us to have us write a special weekly column on her. “The organisation I am affiliated with was first founded in Delhi,” she says as she opens the conversation. “Hyderabad City is merely one more chapter in it! When people first expressed interest in joining this group eighteen years ago, we assisted them in making contact with a reputable neurologist. On the other hand, the organisation thoroughly informed the patient’s family members about the illness while the patient was receiving consultation. The group has occasionally provided assistance with speech and physical treatment as well. In the tragic event that the patient passes away, we also look after their beneficiaries.”
Basically, MS is an auto-immune disease that affects the younger generations, especially those in their 22’s or 23’s. This book, which will be launched on February 4, also highlights the challenges of coping and not letting them get mentally affected. People with MS, she says, also deal with some invisible symptoms and some that are quite obvious.
Author Farida attests to the fact that the multiple sclerosis walks are an excellent way to raise awareness. Even flash mobs in crowded areas! The low number can be attributed to the low level of awareness about the condition in Hyderabad. The city in particular, registered by the organisation, she shares, has around 223 cases. Particularly for individuals who reside in rural areas, but she thinks awareness will gradually rise. The book’s release will be very beneficial. “I am simply in awe of Hyderabad; I have no complaints. Hyderabadis have such a big heart. In my capacity at Doordarshan and All India Radio, I also spent a lot of time researching the dyslexia condition. I began writing articles in newspapers as soon as I moved to Hyderabad to raise awareness about the same, and I thought that was a really fantastic platform because print media played a major role in raising  awareness,” the woman revealed.
According to the author, the book’s goal is to raise public awareness of the fact that many people can live long, active, and healthy lives if they receive the proper diagnosis, prompt treatment, care, and support. One unexpected turn in Farida Raj’s path came from meeting people who were suffering from multiple sclerosis. Her enthusiasm for raising awareness of this lesser-known illness was stoked by this experience. The book ‘Unbreakable Spirit: Navigating Life with MS’ is a valuable resource for learning about the experiences of people with the illness.
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