Siraj Al-Quds

This Entry has been submitted.

Siraj Al-Quds

Palestinian Territory
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Nureddin is bringing visually impaired students to participate as equals in public school classrooms for the first time across the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Palestinian Territories). In this way, he is driving up the level of empathy in these societies, and thus, better equipping them to embrace difference of all kinds.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Disabled children are often isolated from society and denied social interactions, even with their families. Up to 95 percent of disabled school aged children and youth have been excluded from educational systems within the Middle East and North Africa. Of those that do make it to school, most are placed in the few educational institutions specifically created for persons with a disability, which are so specialized that they further isolate disabled students from their able-bodied peers and the larger community. Further, the education provided in those institutions has been found to be severely deficient. The few regular schools that admit the blind and disabled end up virtually ignoring this group, leaving it up to parents to adopt the curriculum to the needs of their children. Overall, the administrative and teaching staff across the educational system in the Levant are wholly lacking in the training and infrastructure to provide an effective education. And with this reality, 93 percent suffer from marginalization and poverty resulting from unemployment.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In an environment where difference is often highlighted and quickly marginalized, Nureddin has created a model school of integrationwhere visually impaired and sighted children learn side by side, and are taught by instructors who are similarly both visually impaired and sighted. He is now using the academic success that has been achieved across the student body – the school is indeed one of the highest ranking in the country – to embed the key principles of the school into the country’s larger education system. With a school system better equipped to welcome and collaborate in the success of the visually impaired, families are able to shed the shame and sense of burden that previously dominated their relationship with these often discarded children, and the visually impaired themselves are able to shed a pattern of thinking imposed by the larger community that made it difficult to generate any significant self-confidence. More generally, Nureddin is demonstrating that with the right enabling environment, the visually impaired can succeed and in fact, contribute to the group – lessons that can be taken beyond classrooms and into the workplace and the general social consciousness. Indeed, from the very beginning Nureddin has been focused on the larger implications of addressing the needs of the visually impaired. He incorporated students and teachers with various other disabilities into his school, for example,to extend the achieved tolerance effect to as many previously rejected groups as possible.