Stories of the resilient – Ghulam Muhammad Baig

If we can not compete within the circle, why bother competing? Why should one get an opportunity if one can not strive to work hard? Something like that is similar to my story.

My name is Ghulam Muhammad Baig. Currently, I live in Glasgow, Scotland, with my family. Initially, I am from Hunza, Gilgit Baltistan. I am going into my final year at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, hopefully graduating with a BA Honours Major in Politics and a Minor in History. I started my education in Pakistan and then moved with my family to Glasgow, Scotland, UK, at age seven in 2006.

Living in a Pakistani family setting with a disability is different than other cultures. Though even in Pakistan, we were living in a privileged household, with my father being an army doctor in the Pakistan armed forces: the lack of awareness within South Asian Households and especially within the military, as it deals with minor and significant injuries was quite surprising. Yes, you do have to realize that it is a part of society, but the fact that many men were injured in wars, you would expect some greater awareness within the military establishment. However, moving on, I went to Sesame school in Abbottabad, and then later on, when we moved to Rawalpindi, I attended the Umeed E Noor School in Islamabad, which the Hashoo Foundation, now a close ally of this organization ( Though not fully aware but by then, I had started being aware that I have got some disabilities in the form of difficulties in speaking, eating, walking, handwriting, and doing things with my hands.

Then when I came to the UK, I started to attend a special needs school called Kelbourne Primary, where I studied there for five years. Those five years were really important in improving my language and communication skills. The support I got there in the form of education, speech therapy, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy transformed some of my disabilities into abilities. After completing primary school, I went to a special needs secondary school named Ashcraig Secondary School where I spent six years. The years at Ashcraig were more challenging, mentally and physically. This school had students from different cultural backgrounds, and I had real difficulties coping with my peers. However, I learned from errors and mistakes and gained confidence by the sixth year, to the extent that I was able to speak on any issue in front of the whole school, and many of my teachers were happy with me. After acquiring the necessary qualifications set by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), I was able to be enrolled in the social sciences course at the City Of Glasgow College where I graduated in 2021. I am interested in the social sciences because I want to investigate how society functions, what are the different attitudes within society, and what are the different hurdles/barriers in society

How did Goodwill Movement Begin?

During the time of the Coronavirus Pandemic, when we were all locked at home and had nothing else to do apart from watching TV and using social media, it was the time I decided that I should help and campaign for the disabled community of Gilgit Baltistan in whatever capacity I can and this is where the idea of creating the Goodwill movement came from.

When I look at the experiences of disabled persons in Pakistan and compare it to the UK, here, society treats its disabled community equally. As a disabled student studying at the City of Glasgow College, I can say that the disability issue in Gilgit Baltistan has remained a long-term neglected issue.
Initially, I did primary research on the disability issue in Gilgit Baltistan by contacting two well-renowned disabled rights activists, Irshad Kazmi and Amjad Nadeem who provided me with an insight into the disabled community of Gilgit Baltistan.
According to them, the government of Gilgit Baltistan has attempted to address this issue by involving Nadeem and Kazmi in the decision-making process, but we collectively feel that the issues faced by the disabled community cannot be solved solely by the government. I even supported Nadeem’s work and projects by creating a local volunteer team and funding them for their projects via Facebook fundraisers.

Where does Goodwill Now stand

Though the idea of fundraisers is very effective, I and a few other activists established the Goodwill Movement so that at the same time as persons with disabilities are receiving aid in terms of food, water, medicines, and shelter, PWDs can receive free training and more importantly it is the first IT centre for Adult PWDs, so that Persons with Disablities could gain the opportunities just like the opportunities that I gained in the UK.

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Thank You!

Ghulam Baig

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