SHARJAH // Mahmoud Najib, 12, has had extremely poor eyesight, caused by a cornea defect, all his life. His childhood has been far from easy. His father, an officer with the Dubai Police, had to have a pacemaker fitted as a result of heart problems, and the family has been hit by numerous financial difficulties. Unable to enter a mainstream high school because he did not read Braille, Mahmoud had no choice but to remain at home.
Shortly afterwards, he was diagnosed with a range of psychological problems, including depression and autism. So, earlier this year, his parents decided to move from their secluded home in Hatta to Ajman, and enrolled their son at the Emirates Association of the Blind (EAB). Within a few weeks they noticed a marked improvement in Mahmoud's mental state; his depression replaced with a cheerful, smiling demeanour.
"His psychology completely changed," said his mother, who attends the EAB sessions with her son so she can learn Braille and help him develop his skills. His teachers believe the change in Mahmoud's outlook is down to the personalised care he gets at the EAB, which many mixed schools simply cannot afford to provide. Now a lively, confident boy, Mahmoud hopes to be a doctor when he grows up because, he said, he wants to help people like his teacher does.
"I study, play sports. It helps to move," said Mahmoud. "I have learned 28 letters now. It's better now. I feel enlightened." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org