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Blind... but not without vision

By Tarryn Pegna | 20 Sep 2019

Everyone said it couldn’t be done. They told her she was blind – but really, they were the ones who couldn’t see.

Ariana* is 11 years old. Like many other girls her age, she longs to achieve – to be someone who does something in the world.

But Ariana is blind.

There shouldn’t be a ‘but’ in front of that sentence. It speaks of limits and impossibilities. It crushes hope. And that’s what the people around Ariana did too.

A small, small world
Ariana’s family came from a place in Afghanistan where education for a blind person wasn’t considered an option. They just couldn’t see how she, or her younger brother, who is also blind, would be able to manage at school. Both children were missing out on learning and socialising. As they got bigger, their world seemed to be getting smaller.

Then, four years ago, they moved to Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. There the family met one of Tearfund’s partners, who offered for teachers to come and work with the children in their home.

At first, the work seemed difficult, but they pressed on. ‘Soon,’ Ariana says, ‘I finished the primary steps and was enrolled into school.’ The principal was reluctant to accept her, but finally the school gave Ariana a place. And she shone.

A world of possibilities
‘When the school teachers asked me questions about the lesson taught the day before,’ says Ariana, ‘I gave them the right answers... During my examinations, I earned higher scores than the students who could see.’

Ariana is teaching the people around her to see possibilities where, before, they saw only limits.

‘All of the teachers and the principal are very happy with me. They are encouraging me in my lessons, and they are telling other students to help me along the way.’

Now Ariana dreams of being a teacher for blind students in the future.

In a world where blindness can be associated with darkness, Ariana is bringing hope and light – widening the horizons of others as she works hard to increase her own.


*Name has been changed to protect identity

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Written by Tarryn Pegna

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