I am Shazia Hasan. I am a computer teacher for the blind, provide
counselling to the visually impaired and their parents. have written
in Dawn, News, Spider etc. I am a member of lions club international.
my blog address is
with large local and international traffic.
today I am going to share the story of my journey so far and share
with you my vision to support the visually impaired persons lead
life with dignity.
I was born with chronic glaucoma. I lost the sight of the left eye
when I was two days old. I kept on having operations and treatment
here in Pakistan
and abroad to save the sight of my right eye. Time passed, nature
prevailed over the Doctors and around eight years of age I had lost my
sight. A trauma
at its height for me and my family.
With diminishing sight, it was becoming dark all around me. For eight
years I could see the faces of my parents, sister, brother, cousins
own colourful cloths, flowery shoes and ribbons in my hair. I enjoyed
the colors of rainbow, beautiful flowers. vast blue ocean, glittering
butterflies in my garden. All the colours and light were gone. As a
young girl of eight the thought that I will no more be able to see
these things again
was very depressing.
Kindness of Allah and support of family and friends that I could have
the courage to overcome this trauma. I had lost the physical ability
but my vision was very much intact.
My best pastime became reading books in Braille mostly from Libraries
in Holland. They proved to be my best mentor. I realised that the
that happened to this world was the result of the visionaries whether
it was poetry, literature, scientific inventions, architecture or any
Seeing has limitations vision has no limitations. A miracle had
happened for which I was praying. A new Shazia Hasan was in the
making. A more confident
courageous.self reliant having perseverance and passion to go ahead to
make her dreams a reality.
The pace of advancement of Medical science and technology is mind
boggling.every day new products and services are coming at the market
place. I used to
get many electronic aids and toys, which more than playing was a
source of wonderment. Reading about computer it its ability would
greatly fascinate me.
My father who is a computer professional would narrate me the powers
of computer which interested me more than Ali Baba stories.
I was highly motivated and inspired girl. I knew the first priority
for me is the education . I focused my attention to education.I
completed my education
from the ida Rieu. While i was having education I was enjoying life as
any body else. My abilities and senses increased in geometrical
listen very well and visualize very easily what is happening. I would
enjoy walking barefoot on cool grass, sitting in my garden and feeling
flowers and flutter of birds.
When an RNIB trained Doctor who had become visually impaired started
computer classes in Karachi I was the first one to enroll as a
students. This was
a turning point in my life. My parents presented me a computer with
special software (called JAWS, which is abbreviation of, Job Access
which is a sophisticated screen reading software. This facility opened
flood gate of knowledge for me I could work on ms word, ms
Power Points. use internet, participate in social networks, use mails,
chats, facebook etc. All this was so involving and interesting that it
no time to worry about my limitation.
Once visiting the Royal National Institute for the Blind, London I saw
boys and girls busy in their daily chore of life including washing
mending if necessary, cooking etc. They lived an independent life,
largely unaided, I used to wonder why in Pakistan we cannot live like
least dependence. There were lot of social and family hurdles in our
way. I pledged to myself to bring freedom to some of
them...........and let that
be the beginning of dawn before sunshine.
All my life I had the dream to help the people like me.To give hands
and feet to my dream and making it reality. I took the first step and
became a teacher
of computer in Ida Rieu.The step proved to be very exhilarating and satisfying.
For parents of such child, it was a trauma too and they did not know
how to cope with a disabled child.
At Ida Rieu, where I worked as Teacher I started counselling parents
of such students. With guidance these families became happier units
and children demonstrated
So far over 200 boys and girls have learned computer from me.This has
revolutionized the life of these students. They are now an active
member of their
family. Many students are now doing their own business. Some major
employers of computer trained students are Standard Chartered Bank,
United Bank and
Karachi Electric Supply Company. I am sure these employers will
encourage other companies to absorb such students.
The smile and happiness on student faces which I can visualize and
feel was very rewarding. The gratitude they show makes me happy.This
motivate and inspires
me to do more about blind people in Pakistan.
My work was slowly getting noticed by the civil society and media.
Several TV channels aired special programs about my work which
I am also thankful to following organisations whose recognition
strengthened me in my mission:
1.K.F.C. for Best Teacher Awards 2007
2.Rotary Club Karachi for Best Teacher Award 2008
3 Ida Rieu for best teacher award 2009
4 Aga Khan University for Business English Certificate 2010
My real award is my ability to bring change in the life of students
and bring back smiles on their faces.
I will repeat my appreciation and thanks to media for disseminating
knowledge about the new opportunities through giving coverage to my
appearances in specially tailored programs. The task is gigantic and
needs collective efforts of the society.We have to work on the parents
of such children.We
have to change the basic paradigm that if you don't have seeing
ability life is doomed.The only knowledge they have is to get them
or things of the sort.This attitude is not true for illiterate or semi
literate population but even educated families. Entire civil society,
parents and elders of families with special child needs to be imparted
the education how to ensure and better and independent living for
needs collective efforts of the society.The pioneers should come
forward with proposals to create awareness to parents how go about
training such children.In
my opinion parents attitude is key to success in educating the blinds
and making them equally useful member of the society.
Lastly i will touch upon the blindness of old age, accident, diabetes,
retina detachment etc. which often strikes at an advanced age and a
time when the
person is an active earning member of the family. I have handled
several such cases and they have been rehabilitated to continue with
their legal or medical
profession. There is a need to educate these people also. The leaders
of civil society should come forward and work to help the victims of
this group also..I
am of the opinion this is as important as opening eye hospitals. There
should be rehabilitation center to guide the parents and blind person
in a very
friendly environment. Major eye hospitals should have rehab centres to
guide such cases and provide alternate ways to pursue their
I am thankful to all institutions who recognized my work.This
recognition gives more vigor to do more.I am an optimist and I know
new technologies and
advancement of medical science will bring new opportunities for blind
people to live as normal life as far possible.This means I have to
keep my eyes and
ears open to learn more and pass on to others.I am thankful to
empowering the differetly abled persons Forum to gave me an
opportunity to share with all
of learned audience. Please help
propogate this message reach the needy.