Meet 41-year-old Manoj John. He has spent the last 20 years in Dubai - all of them with him missing one leg.
He equates his life in Dubai and the UAE to be like living in heaven on earth because of the support this “city of hope” has provided him, inlcuding an artificial leg.
He began with a job, and now runs his own business and has a happy family - a life that he only dreamt of earlier.
John lost his leg in an accident back home in India.
Today, Dubai allows him to live like any other ordinary person – he drives with one leg, goes to the gym, engages in social service and offers a decent life to his family back home.
“This city has given me hope and optimism and my only asset in life is this confidence that people here provided me.
“When I was 17, a lorry hit me from behind, while I was cycling from college to home for lunch. I fell on the road and the lorry ran over my right leg,” John recalls.
“Doctors tried their best to rescue my leg, but as the main vein and arteries were crushed, they decided to amputate my right leg. I had lost hope because without a leg, continuing my studies and various activities were not possible,” he said.
“At one of the college functions, an Indian businessman from Dubai, who was the chief guest, heard my story and promised to help me not only continue education, but get an artificial leg, too,” John said, referring to Sebastian Joseph.
“He arranged a UAE visit visa for me, and helped me get an artificial leg. The artificial legs available in India two decades ago could not be used below the knee and were quite expensive, too,” he told Emirates24|7.
“I came here on a crutch, with one leg and a lot of hope. I returned home with an artificial leg that did not cause any pain or irritation.” he added.
John continued his education and joined a chartered accountancy firm.
“Later, as Joseph had promised, I was once brought here on a visit. I got an interview call within a few days and landed in my first job. There was no turning back since then, despite some challenges and setbacks. I am happy in Dubai because the city and people here gave me not only an artificial leg, but a job and the confidence to lead a decent life.
John, now a father of two, said, "I got a driving licence after three tests because my instructor informed the driving school managers that I am a confident student.
“I drive with the help of my left leg, and I have had no accidents thus far.
“While driving with just one leg would be quite impossible back home due to the rough roads, life as a driver here has been smooth for me and I never felt any difficulty driving using one leg,” he said.
He then started his own business... first he acquired an elevator maintenance firm, then a marine engineering company and later a saloon in Sharjah.
“I have helped at least 40 people find job in various sectors,” he said.
“I had to change my artificial leg twice because with of the growth of bones. I have built a decent life, my two daughters and wife are happy. Never give up is my advice to all.”
Sabha Joseph, the Dubai resident who first helped John did not wish to speak in detail about his philanthropy.
“We have helped a young man lead a normal life with optimism and shared a part of the blessings that this great city and nation gave us,” Joseph said.
“Whatever I have achieved in two decades is due to the generosity of Dubai residents and the plethora of opportunities that the growth in this country opened before me,” John said.