Children and adolescents living with severe disabilities in Jordan struggle to access essential services and to lead independent lives. However, when they have support from their families and access to the right services, they can truly thrive. This is the story of Farawalla, who thanks to dedicated support from her family and the ability to access a specialist school for visually impaired students in Amman, is able to realise her passions and lead an active life.
Farawalla is a 14 year old girl from Amman in Jordan. She is the youngest child in her family and she has two siblings: one sister and one brother. Although she is blind since birth, she leads a very active life and her family makes sure that she can participate in as many activities as possible.
Farawalla likes her room properly organised. This way, she can easily find her way around her things. She does not like when anyone rearranges her belongings and can always tell if something was moved around: “I put my backpack at the right place, and I can recognise if anything was moved from its place.”
At 8 o’clock, Farawalla is picked up for school. She goes to a governmental school for blind children in Amman. Since Farawalla lives nearby, she can stay at home and take a bus every day, but children from other locations need to stay in on-campus dorms and can visit their families only on weekends or school holidays. Education is very important to Farawalla: “I am ranked first in my class. When I have an exam I wake up at 6:00 am to review the course material.”
Farawalla is a member of many clubs at school and likes to compete in sports events with other children.
She is very sociable and although she wishes she could go out more, her family supports her to meet with friends and she sometimes goes out to play in the local mall. Farawalla’s family is being very encouraging and she appreciates their support: “(…) the thing that excites me the most, is that my parents are always standing by me, like for example, there is an activity that I want to participate in, I go back home, I tell my mom I want to join this thing and they let me. They really encourage me.”
Farawalla thinks it’s important to keep in good physical shape, so after school she likes to exercise on a treadmill. She also enjoys sport activities at school – she is especially fond of goalball – a sport designed specifically for people with a vision impairment. Farwalla does not believe that she should live in a bubble: “integration is really important because we must prove ourselves in the society, why don’t we get out of our school, instead of us just staying locked in one place, and all together.”
Farawalla loves to read and wishes there were more books available to her in Arabic–the school library has limited options. She plans to study languages at The University of Jordan, and maybe become a translator one day, so that she can work on translating more books from Arabic to braille. Unfortunately, only limited equipment for children with blindness is available, but her parents are always looking for new options and import from other countries when possible.
Independence is very important to Farawalla: she likes to choose her own clothes, and even decorate them. She has a strong fashion sense and only asks for opinions about things she chooses. When she cannot decide what to wear, she trusts her older sister who studies fashion design to advise her.
She also loves to cook, but sometimes she needs to wait for her mother to get out of the house because she can be very messy in the kitchen…
Farawalla loves playing Nintendo WII games, and likes listening to cooking programmes on YouTube, where she is also learning English, Italian and Turkish. She also uploads videos of her home life and games she plays with her brother to her own YouTube channel.