x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

'Tamkeen vocational programme helped me put my life back together'

Saood Hamad Al Sabt's life changed drastically when he was mugged, rendering him blind.

Saood Hamad Al Sabt had known exactly what he wanted in the next five years: a civil engineering degree, a high-paying job and a wife - but then a mugger changed everything.

Mr Al Sabt, 21, was left blind last year after being clubbed on the head by his attacker. Now he worries his dreams, as well as his sight, have been taken from him.

"I always wonder what I will do and where I will work," he said.

Mr Al Sabt is enrolled in the Tamkeen vocational programme, where he is trying to piece his life back together. He is taking classes in English, internet technology and communication skills with the hope these will make him more employable.

Mr Al Sabt believes the challenge is bigger for him because his disability came on so suddenly.

"I have to unlearn everything I knew and get acquainted with new things and technology," he said.

A former Higher Colleges of Technology student, Mr Al Sabt had been about to begin his degree courses in engineering at the time of the attack. He recognises that now his mobility has become too restricted for him to do so.

"It's surprising how everything and everyone changes when you become blind. My friends who kept calling me all the time do not anymore. My phone is silent. But now I know they weren't my true friends."

Travelling around the city without companions is so difficult that Mr Al Sabt goes out just once a month.

But he has not lost hope. "I do not have a specific job in mind but I know my body is 100 per cent perfect. I was told media is a good industry for people who are blind."

At Tamkeen, he has learnt how to use a screen reader on the computer and is being taught how to communicate with colleagues.

"Life does not end, and so I still have my aspirations - a good job, a good salary and marriage."