05.06.17 | News, Project of the Month

"The Jordan culture is not made for blind people"

In June, the project of the month comes from Jordan
Children at the Arab Episcopal School in Jordan

Blind, visually impaired and sighted children learn together at the Arab Episcopal School. (Photo: EMS/Jeric)

Three times a week 20-year-old Lama supports the teachers at the Arab Episcopal School (AES) in Irbid, Jordan – an integrative school for blind and sighted children. Lama knows best with which challenges especially the blind children have to cope in their daily lives. Because Lama is blind herself. As a child she visited a school for blind in Amman and then changed to a public school where she was the only blind pupil. After her graduation she started university where she was confronted with prejudices against blind people and where they made fun of her. "At first I went back home crying," says Lama. "But after a while it was okay. I think they just make fun of me because they do not know me."

The Jordan culture is not made for blind people says Lama. Many people do not know blind people and think they are slow learners. Lama wants to change that. By studying and by teaching at the Arab Episcopal School. "Blind people have to be active," says the young woman. She sees her time as a student on the one side and a teacher on the other side as the best experience in her life so far. "It is so much fun. I can help the students grow stronger than me because I can help them to avoid mistakes I did myself. That is the best thing I can do at the school."

Blind, visually impaired and sighted children learn together

Lama is blind, studies at the university and teaches at the Arab Episcopal School.und unterrichtet an der Arab Episcopal School in Irbid.
Lama studies and at the same time teaches at the AES. For the 20-year-old the best experience in her life. (Photo: EMS/Jeric)

The Arab Episcopal School in Irbid teaches about 170 children from nursery school to year ten. Blind, visually impaired and sighted children learn and play together. By helping the blind and visually impaired children, the sighted children learn attentiveness, solidarity and social competence.

Lama loves to see the development of the children who attend the Arab Episcopal School. "In the Braille centre I had a girl who failed the course. Therefore, the school did not accept her so I taught her at my house. Now she is amazing and I am sure she is able to return next semester," says Lama. Once, the young teacher has finished her studies she dreams of working as a translator. But she will not give up on her job as a teacher at the Arab Episcopal School. Instead she wants to continue to work there on a voluntary basis. Her aim is to help blind and impaired children to understand: "Never let anybody makes you feel disabled because you are not. There is something special inside you that nobody else has."

Alisa Jeric/Elisa Heiligers