JEDDAH: SIRAJ WAHAB
Published — Tuesday 4 November 2014
Last update 4 November 2014 12:09 am
“Is that true? I can’t believe my ears.” That is how Aboud Al-Aboud reacted to news of the offer of a specially built $80,000 vehicle from the president of an American firm.
The plight of the physically challenged boy from Aflaj, near Riyadh, published in Arab News on Friday, caught the eye of Brendan McGuinness, president and CEO, MENA Mobility Solutions, Dubai, who then made the gracious offer through Arab News.
Al-Aboud, a final year high school student, is so committed to his education that he travels nearly 10 km every day in his rickety battery-operated wheelchair in order to get to school. He takes little notice of the hot desert sun or the cold winter.
Thanks to the purpose-built MV-1 vehicle, which is expected to be delivered in eight weeks, Al-Aboud will be able to travel to school in comfort and go out in the evenings with his friends and have a more normal and easier life.
“I have no words to thank Mr. McGuinness and his business partner, Mr. Swaidan Al-Naboodah,” he told Arab News by telephone from Aflaj. “I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
Al-Aboud, choking with emotion, said disability is a state of mind. “People with physical disabilities should stand up and meet the challenges head-on,” he said. “They should pursue their dreams and not let disability prevent them from achieving their goals.”
He said he is determined to continue his education. “I want to make a difference in life,” said Al-Aboud. “This unbelievable gesture has only strengthened my resolve.”
His school principal, Ahmad Al-Kheran, also spoke to Arab News and described Al-Aboud as a devoted and gifted student. “He is very kind to his friends and is thoroughly committed to his studies,” he said. “We are proud to have him as one of our students.”
Al-Aboud’s father, Mohammad Al-Aboud, also expressed gratitude to the media, especially to Arab News, for supporting his son. “I am grateful to the company that has offered to donate the special vehicle,” he said. “It will ease the difficulties of my beloved son, Aboud.”
Announcing the offer on Sunday, McGuinness said: “We all have a moral and social obligation to support those with disabilities. I cannot change the world but, maybe, I can help someone like this admirable young man who is trying to achieve his dreams.”