1% is enough “I can’t see what you can see, but I can imagine what you can’t!”
Tawba, 11 years old has a vivid imagination and is almost totally blind. She is a pupil in the fourth grade at the Jerusalem Princess Basma Inclusive School and is fully integrated into all aspects of learning with an excellent academic record.
When Tawba was three months old, her family realized that she was not responding to any visual stimulation. This was when doctors assessed her as having just 1% of vision and that nothing could be done to change that. Her family was left to help their daughter to find ways to create a fulfilling and meaningful life.
In spite of the support of her family, Tawba’s early experience at a local school was not a happy one. Now, at the Princess Basma Inclusive School, she recalls, “I went through things that made me feel sorry for myself. Despite the teacher’s kindness and care, my classmates in the previous school treated me badly and this caused me pain in the past. However, this has made me strong now.”
Counting blessings is better than counting sorrows
Tawba’s experience has made her wise. Understanding that nothing can be done to restore her sight, she focuses on valuing the resources and blessings she does have. “It’s true that I can’t see, but I can imagine what others can’t. This is the reason I can write stories and sing songs.”
In addition, Tawba, has developed a talent for auditory learning and now uses her Braille printer in her studies. She also enjoys the social opportunities that the school offers, explaining that “my grandmother says that I’m a sociable person who can get along with people easily.”
Moreover, Tawba says that she is very happy at the Basma School describing how everyone understands the inclusive values and believes in empowering all who are in need. She describes how she has many friends; how they play and talk together and show each other respect.
Challenges and dreams
The journey was not easy for Tawba or for her family, but they decided to walk it with faith and hope, learning a new path together. Tawba’s grandmother who is responsible for her education says: “It took a long time and great effort to learn how to use the Braille printer. It was not always easy to keep Tawba strong through all of this.”
She continues, “Now, I thank God every day when I see how clever and determined Tawba is. I’m glad that she can express herself and motivate her three sisters and the other children.”
Along with her grandmother, Tawba is thankful but she is also ambitious, “I appreciate everything that God has given me and I’m working for a better future for myself. I have big dreams and I’m doing my best.”
Tawba is an inspiration to all children with disabilities to focus on their talents and to dream big. She is an encouragement to all communities to create a better world for children with disabilities and to enable equal opportunities for all.