Jordan: Integrated School for Blind and Visually Impaired Children

Many parents in Jordan are ashamed of their blind children and hide them away at home. An integrated school in Irbid gives these children prospects for the future – through elucidation and a decent education.

Just imagine how small the world is when you are confined within four walls. Many blind children in Jordan experience a very lonely world. They are often seen as a disgrace by society and thus their parents hide them away at home. Without school education these girls and boys have no chance to ever live or work on their own. At the "Arab Episcopal School" integrated school for the blind in Irbid, blind and sighted children learn together.

Braille and talking computers

Blind children receive learning aids in class, such as teaching materials in Braille which are printed at the school on a special Braille printer. Of course the school library also has books in Braille next to books for sighted children. There also are "talking computers" which the blind and visually impaired children use through their own voice output. It is hardly surprising that the children feel respected and secure at the school for the blind. The staff is confident that the visually impaired and blind pupils can learn to read and write just like the others and can also attend all the subjects on the curriculum.


9.5 million inhabitants, of which 2% are Christians

Success for the integrated school concept

The integrated concept is unique in the region around Irbid. Two thirds of the pupils can see whereas a third of them are visually impaired or blind. Sitting side by side in class creates a feeling of belonging. Often sighted children help their visually impaired classmates during sports lessons or outings. And the sighted children are surprised by the way their blind friends perceive things and how fast they can read and write Braille. This way, all of them learn social skills such as human sympathy and respect.

Even some of the female and male teachers are blind. They are important role models for their blind protégés since they have succeeded in overcoming the difficulties of learning a profession and living on their own.

It all began in 2003 when Reverend Samir Esaid opened an integrated kindergarten together with his wife Sabah Zurikat. Two years later, with the support of the Anglican Church the couple opened up their first integrated school. In the meantime, the female and male staff teaches about 200 children from nursery school up to the tenth class. Also the parents receive training: The staff shows them possible ways to support their visually impaired daughters and sons which helps them to understand their children better and look at them through different eyes.

Project goals

In Jordanian society, visually impaired and blind children are often socially isolated and lead lives hidden from the public eye. Without schooling, these children and young adults have no chance of a better life. The Arab Episcopal School for the blind in Irbid is an integrated school and offers children prospects for the future by giving them awareness and a good education. It supports children to become self-confident, open-minded and jovial personalities, and promotes their integration and acceptance in Jordanian society.

Project work

The integrated school in Irbid is a school for everyone. Blind and sighted pupils learn together. Joint classes boost their social skills in particular and give visually impaired pupils positive self-esteem. The school provides the right conditions as well as the necessary materials. Among the staff are also visually impaired and blind teachers. They act as important role models for their blind protégés and are always their first point of contact.

Project partner

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is the sponsor church of the integrated Arab Episcopal School for the blind in North Jordan. It was started by Reverend Samir Esaid and his wife Sabah Zurikat in 2003. They started with only a small kindergarten group. Thanks to church support, the first grade of the primary school opened in 2005. Since then, the school has grown gradually. In the meantime, the female and male staff teach about 200 children from kindergarten age through to 10th grade.


We are pleased to hear that you are interested in this project. If you have any general questions, please use the contact form below. We are also happy to help you personally if you have any questions or require further information – by phone or by E-mail.


Uwe Gräbe

Head of Unit Middle East

+49 711 636 78 -37

Angelika Jung

Head of Unit Fundraising

+49 711 636 78 -63

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Many parents in Jordan are ashamed of their blind children and hide them away at home. An integrated school in Irbid gives these children prospects for the future – through elucidation and a decent education.

Education for all – this is the guiding principle of the Theodor Schneller School in Jordan. Children and young people from poor and difficult circumstances are offered a chance at a better life.