New Humanity Movement

Social Harmony and Art

sguardiAlgeriaSometimes responding to a request for help may have unforeseeable consequences.  This happened to Scheherazad who is from Oran, Algeria. Together with the community in the city, an overwhelming Muslim majority, she took the opportunity to take care of the blind, giving life to a pilot experience in its genre, which brings the city to look "beyond".
 
From the community of Oran-Algeria

Oran, Algeria's second-largest city, overlooking the Mediterranean, is one of the most important commercial and cultural centres in the North African State.

A group of people, mostly Muslim, committed to live by the values of universal brotherhood, is also active here and live an experience with the blind people.

Scheherazad joined the group in 1990, and she tells us the beginning of this story: "In 1997, through my younger sister who works in an eye clinic, I met a Catholic nun who was looking for a person to teach the French language to a group of blind people of the city; I did not feel prepared, I am a housewife and it seemed to me that this commitment exceeded my skills.  Still I agreed and with the support of my husband I decided to accept the job, conscious that in the proposal given to me there could be  hidden a precise plan of God".

It's the start of a wonderful adventure which in time involved the town.  Beyond teaching Sheherazad discovered a new world, the world of the blind that won her heart and also Fouzia's, a friend who shares the ideal of fraternity, who joined the group as a teacher shortly soon. The world of the blind is clearly different, especially since the majority of them are poor and socially marginalised.

"With the passage of time, we realize that our attitude of openness towards the other gives teaching a particular feature, it is almost an "excuse" to support these people in their daily lives, even outside the classroom: to anyone who needs to find a job, or to those who may need minimal support or a simple word of comfort".
 
Meanwhile, to better understand the needs of their pupils, Fouzia and Scheherazad learnt writing Braille. It did not pass unnoticed: "a friend of ours, watching us give our time without expecting anything in return, decided to help and to join our group".
 
Together they try to work to the best of their abilities, giving in the meantime some answers to the many requests for help. They realise that these people feel humanly complete only if they are also academically knowledgeable.  This is true especially for the younger ones among the blind. A girl, for example, goes to classes so that she may eventually find a job as a receptionist.  They search for solutions, and find a business that might need this professional figure. They speak with the Manager of the firm: "We tell him of our work in this context and we note the availability of the Director to help us find a solution: he is fascinated by our commitment and decides unconventionally to hire the girl indefinitely".
 
The entire community of Oran is part of the projects and objectives that we achieve at every step.  With the idea of establishing an organisation in the future and a vocational school for the blind and visually impaired, open days are organised to publicize the life and the richness of the world of the blind: "the theme of these events is always centered on "the other" and eventually there is no longer the blind and the sighted person, the Muslim or Christian: we are all brothers and sisters sharing the same life".

These events quickly see an increasing number of participants: there are those who offer refreshments, who give donations, who claim to feel good in this "cohesive and united group, where men and women give without expecting anything".

The national press also become interested in these events, recognizing the right of blind people to live like everyone else.
 
It's an awareness initiative, that leads many people to join the efforts of Sheherazad and Fouzia; now it is no longer one or two people who work there, but a large part of the community of Oran. Despite the legal and administrative difficulties it is officially an Association for the professional integration of the blind which is very active and works for the construction, in the not too distant future, of a real school.

Even the large organisations that are influential in the city are involved and the project training is recognized by the Department for the vocational training of Oran.
 
Over time, each of the activities of the Association acquires a particular structure; before anything else, what is presented first of all is the "heart" that underlies all of this work. It is not just altruism or the desire to do something.  It is a feeling of being part of one big family, made up of young people, adults, the blind and the sighted, sharing joys and sorrows in all situations, finding in this Association the answers to the problems of the city.

"A lot of work still needs to be done"- concludes Sheherazad - "but doing things for others, trying to do well together despite all our limitations is beautiful and exciting!  It gives everyone the strength to go ahead and opens the door to new surprises”.

© Photo Copyright Viditu, Creative Commons License
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