National day to recognize blind people [Archives:2007/1085/Local News]

September 13 2007

Almigdad Dahesh Mojali
SANA'A, Sept. 10 ) September 9, was announced as the national day for blind people in Yemen. This was announced in the annual celebration for blind females organized by Al-Aman Association for caring of blind females. The association is working on integrating blind females in public schools because lack of education is the main problem blind females face in Yemen.

So far, the association organizes special education for 350 blind girls learning state curricula in Brail language for levels from first to fifth grade. The students also study about practical skills such as typing, movement techniques for blind, and other vocational training that would help in their daily lives.

The school has been successful in enrolling 85 blind girls in public schools, and 20 in Sana'a University.

“Our main issue is how to integrate the blind girls in society, especially through education. So far 8 girls have graduated from Sana'a University and have been employed in government offices,” said Fatima Al-Aqel director of the association.

After October, the association plans to inaugurate two branches in Taiz and Hodeidah, in order to support blind girls in those governorates.

Al-Aqel indicated that the association is looking forward to establishing a culture center that will enable blind girls to learn how to use electrical devices. Al-Aqel added that they need to establish a family guidance center. “The Association needs also to arrange some modern programs concerning dual handicaps,” she said.

Lack of financial support is the main obstacle facing the Association as well as the lack of specialists. Another problem is to dealing with the families of the blind is another obstacle facing the association.

The association receives 300,000 YR from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and 70,000 YR from the Sana'a Secretariat, per month. However, this sum is inadequate since they spend about one million YR per month. Al-Aqel mentioned that there are permanent and occasional private supporters, but that support doesn't exceed 5% of the expenditures. Al-Aman Association is committed to providing blind individuals with transportation, curriculums, and hostels (for those who come from other governorates), in addition to the help that they will need to become independent.

During the celebration, president Saleh promised a Brail printing unit to support the education process for blind girls. The celebration was under the theme: “Let us see by your clear eyes and walk in your guidance”. The attendees were moved by the performance of the association students and encouraged to support their cause.

The government has also committed to constructing a training and qualifying center for the blind through the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

“The legislation and laws that integrate the disabled into society, and the generous accounts provided by the government are the best evidence of the state's support,” said Abdulaziz Abdulghani chairperson of the Consultative Council.