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Visually Impaired Students Fight Discrimination in Malawi

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An Islamic school for visually impaired Muslim children was founded in the southern African country of Malawi. Despite ongoing reports of discrimination towards the disabled, the school enrolls visually handicapped children between 9 – 21 years of age. The Ahlul Bayt News Agency recently quoted Ibrahim Amin, the founder of An-Noor Madrassah for the Blind, explaining the motivation behind the school. “We founded this school as a direct response to rising levels of neglect and discrimination,” Amin explained while describing the prejudice faced by these children and their families. Amin, who is a teacher for children with special needs, further noted the added injury to pain these children face when abandoned or neglected due to the stigma associated with the disability. In recent times, visually impaired Malawi citizens have reported discrimination in the lack of inclusion by civic organizations providing programs for fair representation in the government. As a result, these children do not receive the education and future that other children are afforded.

The new school seeks to provide visually impaired children in Malawi the ability to read the Quran by teaching them Arabic Braille. Adult students may attend the school workshops teaching them to read the Noble Quran in Arabic Braille. In the past, Christian schools for the blind, established in 1904, provided the only opportunity for formal education for these children. According to official government statistics, Christianity is the largest religion followed by Islam with 12 percent of Malawi’s 14 million people. The estimated number is higher according to the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM.) With the growing numbers of Muslims, parents of the vision impaired stopped sending their children to schools fearing Christian indoctrination.

Without an alternative, the visually impaired children are unable to secure hope of any type of education.

Creative Commons Love: Samantha Beddoes on Flickr.com

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