Sunday, 25 Aug 2019
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Intisar, A Young Woman with Impaired Vision, Paves the Way for Success in Work and Higher Education with Support of BASR PDF Print E-mail



The typing tones on the Perkins Brailler machine - flowing gracefully through her fingertips and landing in peace on the paper print to reveal her aspiration and longing for the days when Intisar was able to independently finish her thesis at the resource unit for students with impaired vision at Bethlehem University one year ago - reminds her how she did successfully overcome all the barriers hindering her academic achievement.

“To become educated in our community is very challenging for people with vision impairment” said Intisar with a deep breath, going on with her story “the negative attitudes of my local community had begun to rise since my childhood; they even used to mock me in public, which made me feel isolated. Yet people’s underestimation could not extinguish my passion to pursue my education”. “My parents sent me to a special school for the visually impaired in Beit-Jala in the Bethlehem district; and after finishing the 4th grade, I moved to a public primary school in Beit-Jala then to a public secondary school in Yatta in the Hebron district; but because they were not inclusive of pupils with disability, I had to pass several semesters without getting Braille books and had to rely on my classmates most of the time for studying. Despite those difficulties, I managed to finish high school with high grades and to join Bethlehem University for a Bachelor degree in Arabic literature”, said Intisar with full determination.

Although Bethlehem University is the most adaptive and accessible university for students with disabilities in Palestine, Intisar - as one of many other students with vision impairment - had to depend sometimes on her friends, particularly in writing assignments and researches, prompting her to wonder when her burden on the others will come to an end, which drew the attention of the Committee for Students with Disability at the University alongside BASR’s team to establish a resource unit for students with disabilities including those with impaired vision, supported by the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI).

The resource unit includes different assistive devices and equipment for students with impaired vision such as Perkins Braillers, computers with screen readers and Braille Displays, CCTVs, Braille embossers, magnifiers, etc. A full time technical person is there to train and support students in the use of the devices and prepare the study materials for them in accessible format.

After receiving computer training at the unit using a screen reader and after regular follow up by BASR’s vision rehabilitation team, Intisar managed to study alone, write her assignments and finish her thesis independently for the first time ever, which boosted her self-confidence and self-esteem and encouraged her to study and work harder until she successfully graduated from Bethlehem University.

“I never dared to think of getting a job and pursuing my higher education; but now I got a part-time job as a tutor at a special school for the visually impaired and I’m currently doing my Masters in Translation at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem”, sighed Intisar with ambitious eyes looking forward to more success.