A man trapped in a child’s body proves size doesn’t matter as he becomes the world’s smallest teacher.
Azad Singh, from Haryana, India, measures a tiny 3ft tall leaving him looking like a five-year-old but in fact he is aged 22 and has never gone through puberty.
But the little man refuses to let his size and child like looks stop him fulfilling his dreams. Last month he secured his first job teaching computers at an all girls’ school and has now possibly achieved the title of the world’s smallest teacher.
Known to his students as ‘Chotu Sir’, translated to ‘Little Teacher’, Azad loves his new role and is happy he has finally found independence.
He said: ‘I have always wanted to be a computer engineer but my size has made everything difficult. I’ve worked hard to accomplish my goal and gain some independence and live a normal life. I am enjoying my successes right now. I have achieved what I’ve always wanted.’
Oldest of three children, Azad was born with a rare congenital disorder, meaning his hormones have never developed properly.
He stopped growing at the age of five and he’s now trapped in the body of a five-year-old for the rest of his life.
I have always wanted to be a computer engineer but my size has made everything difficult
He weighs a light 19kg and wears a child’s size 9 shoe, with clothes fit for a boy aged seven.
Azad’s parents, Bahudur Singh, 63, and Parvati Yadav, 52 , were too poor to consult any specialists or pay the extortionate medical fees when Azad was a child and now it is too late. The necessary hormone injections are normally given before the age of 16 or 17.
As Azad grew up he was continually bullied for having such an unusual condition.
He said: ‘The boys in my class never played with me, so I used to play with children in the junior classes instead. Boys my age used to call me midget (bona) and chotu (kid). If I ever stuck up for myself they’d threaten me even more. I used to get really scared.
‘They used to even tell me that circus people would try and kidnap me. I used to be too scared to walk anywhere alone, even down the road to the sweet shop. But now I know it was all lies just to try and scare me.’
Azad used to feel sad when people teased him and called him names but now he’s accepted who he is. He said his bullies have helped him become a stronger person.
I used to be too scared to walk anywhere alone
‘I was always determined in life but I had no confidence. The bullies have made me fight for what I want and I’ll always strive hard to achieve my goals.
‘I give a lot of credit to my family for supporting me. They have always been at my side and encouraged me.’
Azad is very close to his younger sisters, Laxmi Yadav, 19, who suffers the same disorder and younger sister Suman Yadav, 15, who is the only child unaffected and of normal height.
Suman, who goes to the same school where her big brother teaches, said: ‘I used to feel bad for Azad, he was my older brother but people use to be so mean to him but now he has made me very proud.
‘It’s not his fault he is the way he is. God has made him like this. He’s special and he’s my big brother and I love him. We don’t care what people say about him any more.’
Even though Suman is seven years younger than her brother she drives her brother to work and back on the family’s scooter every morning and night and is very protective of him.
Azad had always had an interest in computers but the school bullies used to stop him having any access to one.
He said: ‘Thankfully my schoolteachers encouraged me to take a computer course at a private computer academy as soon as I finished school. And thanks to their help I got this job. Now, I teach computer skills and maintain over 30 computers in the school’s computer laboratory. I’ll get my first salary at the end of my three-month probationary period. Once I pass I’ll earn 10,000 Rupees a month.‘
Azad was initially going to work at his old all boys’ school, but teachers feared he’d still be bullied.
‘The girls call me ‘Dwarf Teacher’ but I don’t mind. I am comfortable here, I’m not scared or intimidated and I like teaching them,’ he added.
Even though Azad is now at the right age to marry, especially now he has a job; he has no plans to find a wife.
He said: “I’ll never marry, never. Even if a girl asks me I’ll say no. I have no interest; I just want to be with my family. I have other dreams, I want to start a computer-manufacturing factory, I want to take my family for holidays and I want to buy a good house in Delhi. And I’d love to meet Bill Gates one day and visit Silicon valley.’
Azad thanks his job for changing his life in many ways.
‘People treat me differently now I have a job, with some respect. My friends no longer treat me as a child and now they come to me with problems and want my help with important decisions.’
I’ll never marry, never. Even if a girl asks me I’ll say no. I have no interest
He has friends of different age groups and often watches TV with them after work.
Azad’s mother, Parvati, said the job has brought relief to the whole family.
‘We’re a poor family, so we’re very thankful that Azad has found a job. He’s a good boy with a good head so I’m very pleased someone has seen his potential.’
Parvati said both her older children stopped growing at the age of five but never realised that there was anything seriously wrong with them until it was too late.
‘We took them to a doctor once but it was already too late and there was nothing they could do. We tried some medicines for Azad for a while but nothing happened and it was too expensive and we couldn’t afford to keep up with the costs.
‘To me it doesn’t matter whether my children are tall or short but it used to upset me when people treated them badly. Once, we were traveling on a train and it was a polio vaccination campaign day. Officials spotted Azad at one of the stations and mistook him for a baby and wanted to inject him. I tried to convince them that he was 18 years old but they didn’t believe me. The entire train got down to see Azad and laugh, it was awful and very embarrassing.
‘But now people respect him. He’s finally found happiness and now I see him smile a lot.’