A step forward | Aga Khan Academies

A step forward

03 February 2022

For their personal projects, students investigate an area of their choosing and interest in order to create a product. Grade 10 student, Arya Abdul, tells us more about her project, “A step forward” in which she built an easily accessible, environmentally friendly walker. 

Arya tells us more about the inspiration behind her project and the experience below.

Throughout my life, I have always been passionate about helping those in need and individuals who have been living with physical disabilities that may or may not affect their daily lives. Ever since I began visiting Port Reitz (a school for uniquely abled children) for Service Learning in MYP 1-3, my heart simply connected with the children who were all unique. I say unique, not only because they have different disabilities, but unique because despite their hardships and conditions, they always brought a smile to my face. However, the site visits to Port Reitz enlightened me with the fact that despite having assistive tools such as walkers and wheelchairs most of them were in poor condition because of lack of funding, and humid conditions in Mombasa causing the metal frames in their walkers and wheelchairs to rust. Additionally, I have grown up in a community that is surrounded by individuals who have experienced hardship in motor skills like walking due to complicated health conditions and accidents. My grandmother has polio and uses a walker, which is quite expensive and not durable. She has also had several accidents to which she has had to get hip replacement surgeries, which have also been quite expensive. Therefore, to address the environmental, health and financial concerns, my product goal is to create an assistive tool; a walker, specifically an eco-friendly one, by reusing plastic materials, that could benefit the elderly in my community as well as those who suffer from physical disabilities.

My entire personal project journey has been so fulfilling. I loved taking up a new challenge that pushed me out of my comfort zone, especially working with local plumbers and close relatives who tested out my product because of the pandemic. I had never anticipated that I would become more confident in my abilities as a teenager and my love for those who are physically challenged grew more than I expected. Through my project, I got to collaborate, think critically and use my creativity to create an assistive tool. I can't wait to take this project further and make a larger social impact in my community. Until then, I have a quote that I live by which is worth sharing: "When given the choice between being kind and being right. Choose kind."