x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Two bitter drops changed Akram's life

He was only five when his mother took him for a polio vaccination, inspiring him in his fight towards eradicating polio.

ABU DHABI // The bitter taste of two drops of liquid on his tongue is a memory that has lasted Akram Azimi a lifetime - and protected him from polio.

Akram was five years old, having moved to Pakistani from Afghanistan, when his mother took him to have a vaccination.

The life-changing decision marked Akram out as different from the other children in his neighbourhood, many of whom would later develop deformities after catching the disease.

His memories have inspired Akram to help the fight towards eradicating polio by becoming a global fundraiser for the Global Poverty Project. "I remember this lady put two little drops in my mouth and I remember it had this funny taste," he said. "I had no idea what this meant."

Five years later in Pakistan, he got his answer. "I saw kids begging on the street. These kids had wasted limbs. They would crawl with sandals on their hands." Turning to his mother, she assured him he was protected against polio.