Founder’s Story

In his words our co-founder, A. Ahmed, who is visually impaired says

I am a native of Somalia, born in Mogadishu on 1st Jan 1969.  I have visual disability since 2006 and have become well acquainted with the differences between the worlds of the sighted and the unsighted. Following a recent visit to Kenya, I came to a better understanding of the conditions under which  Kenyan blind children live. These children seemed very happy, with big smiles on their faces.  But I have also not forgotten that these children did not have enough canes, brail-text books or teachers for the blind.  That visit to Kenya has motivated me to find a way to help these children and provide them resources for proper education.  My goal is to now to find a way to form a non-profit organization which could provide these services.

My personal story also provides me with the motivation to reach out to those in need. I found that the rapid onset of complete sight loss left me struggling with  its implications.  I realized that I would never again see the beauty of human features , the brightness of colors, the light of the sun or simply understanding people’s body language.  Before I lost my vision, I often wondered how a blind person could manage to get around independently,  travel alone, and maintain an outgoing life style.  After being struck with visual impairment,  I have found that such people can sail boats, climb mountains,  ski cross-country, and paddle rivers in a canoe.  Even beyond my imagination, blind people can learn the skills and techniques that will allow them to live very independently, attend school, and get a decent jobs.

A wise saying goes “the best product of revenge is to achieve victory and forgiveness”.   By acknowledging my own potential weaknesses, I can begin transforming them into my strengths.  I now have a more intimate knowledge of the stigma and struggle of blindness. I have resolved that I am not going to hold myself back nor let anyone else hold me back because of my disability.  I have been able to cope with the basic challenges of life as a blind person through direct observation and through that have gained special skills, knowledge and a full range of experience.

My conceptual knowledge is much in common with people who have physical, sensory, mental, or cognitive disabilities. In the deepest part of my heart, I reject the notion that any form of disability should be stigmatized as a lesser way of life.  These disabilities are a natural part of human diversity. 

The most difficult part of the blindness is overcoming the public attitude and misconception about the blindness which is deeply rooted in our culture and permeate every aspect of social behavior and thinking as well as the presumption of society’s to discount our abilities, and the belief that there is something inherently wrong in being blind.  Reality is that there is nothing wrong with the people who are visually impaired.

Truth to tell, the  problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight but it is misunderstanding and lack of information that existed. If a blind person has proper training and opportunity, any blind person can compete on terms of equality with sighted.