Al Noor Association For the Blind

Blind Stories



 My Life Story as Blind...

Article By: Mohammed Hamad Al Harthy


This is life story and how I lost my vision at an early age. I was born in 1960 in the Republic of Uganda in East Africa, in a small town called Bugiri. I was born as a normal child, and remember to view the world like any other normal person. I played and had fun with my friends in a happily and natural environment without any problems. The problem with my vision was initially detected in 1970, from then onwards my life changed for the worse. One of my eyes was beginning to loose vision rapidly. At the same time, I also lost my mother who passed away about the same period. As time went by, and with the loss of my sight and my mother, I decided to focus on my education and moved on to a new era in my life. I depended on the good eye but after some time, it also began to feel weak. In 1973, the family, which included my father and other relatives decided to return to our country of origin, Sultanate of Oman. One of the purpose of our return is to seek medical treatment for my sight. It turned out that there is not much that could be done

In 1977 the only eye I had started to loose vision. Yet again, about the same time, my father passed away. At this time I was 17 years old..

New Challenges

It was not easy for me to settle and cope with new environment. I began to think of my future and what it holds, the options that are available for me to continue living under such difficult circumstances. Despite all these setbacks, I was thankful for the support I had from my brothers and sisters.

At this point of time, my first priority was to seek medical treatment wherever I could find it. I traveled to India where I underwent surgery on my right eye, which did not succeed. Following this failure, I had to undergo another surgery to rectify the retina, the same year at Al Nahdha Hospital in Oman, which also failed.

After these surgeries, I lost all hope of regaining my vision, but with determination and belief in the future and faith in His Almighty, together with the support of my relatives and friends, i decided to pursue new path in life.

Initially I started to work as a carpenter, and continued to live with my brothers. However, I also continued seeking medical assessment and assistance wherever I could find, both locally and foreign.

Whilst living with my brother, as a companion, I had a small radio which I carried with me all the time, wherever I want to listen to the news and other stuffs. My hobby was listening to the football news locally and worldwide.

One day, fortunately, I heard over my radio, in one of the local channels, an advertisement announcing the acceptance of the blind at the “Al Noor Institute of the Arabian Gulf”, located in the Kingdom of Bahrain. I did not hesitate and at once submitted my application. I was registered at the said Institute in 1979, whilst at the age of 19.

I started my studies at the Institute, beginning from the Primary class 3. I resided at the same institute and hence had no transport inconvenience to worry about, but had to go through the bad and good times there until I completed secondary school level in the year 1989. I was by then was 29 years old.

During my time there, I received a honorary award from the then Emir of Bahrain, Sheikh Issa bin Salman Al Khalifa, and that’s for securing third place at state of Bahrain level in the intermediatory level. This was during the State’s celebration of “the Education Day”. I then went on to complete my secondary school education at the “Al Hidaya Al Khalifa School also in Bahrain”. This school was the first school established in the Gulf and that was in 1919.

After school……………..

After my return to my home country, Oman, from Bahrain, I now faced by new challenges ahead of me.I began to think what would be my next task. Either I had to proceed with my university education or seek a job. A scholarship was awarded to me by the Ministry of Higher Education to pursue my university education at the Qatar University, which I accepted and hence flew to Qatar. I was faced by a lot of difficulties which hindered my studies in Qatar. One of them was the location of the University from my place of residence and the second was the less support I received from sighted students. I tried to over come these two problems for the sake of completing my university education. However, it was too difficult to continue, hence I returned home. .

I then decided to return to Oman and seek employment in any sector. To my disappointment, I was declined everywhere I went, as no one wanted to accept a blind person’s capabilities to perform in the same manner as that of a normal natural person. In 1989, with some of my colleagues we decided to approach His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, (May His Almighty grant him long life) for his support. His Majesty, The Sultan issued his directives on the employment of the disable in the Public sector. With Allah’s blessing and assistance, I was employed by the Ministry of Information in the year 1990, after a hard struggle.

I worked at the Ministry of Information for 3 years, after which I decided to transfer to the Muscat Municipality in 1993, Al Amarat branch. This is for my convenience to as my place of residence is located in that part of the city. My new job was that of a telephone operator.

My family Life ……….

Having secured and job and became financially independent, my first priority was to build a proper domestic life for himself and settle down, basically, which comprised of having a home and a family. Three months after my employment I was granted a loan by the Oman Housing Bank to purchase a villa at Al Amarat, phase 4. This was done easily without any difficulty.

My second step was to look for a life partner. I searched for this locally initially but was quite complicated and difficult, as no one would accept to give away their daughter to a disable person and a blind in particular. Hence I had no option but to look outside Oman for a partner (wife), and from Zanzibar, in particular due to the cultural match and back ground of the two nations. I succeeded finally in finding a partner, but was faced with the problem of bringing her to Oman.

This was a big hassle, and the difficulty was acquiring the permit from the Ministry of Interior, which was not easy to come by, which took me several visits to the Ministry and about 6 months to obtain the permission.

I now have a nice home with 5 children and well settled and fully self dependent. My housing loan has been fully repaid after acquiring a government land and selling it off to repay all my debts.

My contribution to charity……

I started this journey in the year 1982, while still studying in Bahrain. I joined “The Blind Friendship Association”, and was a full scale member. On my return to Oman, together with other disabled colleagues we decided to apply for the establishment of “The Oman Association of the Disabled” in Oman. This was achieved and the association was formally founded in the year 1985 through a Ministerial decision.. I was one of the founders. I contributed quite a lot to this association and to the affairs of the disabled.

In 1997, together with other blind colleagues decided to apply this time for the establishment of “Al Noor Blind Association” which was to serve the blind in particular. This was achieved and the association was also founded through a Ministerial decision. I contributed and is still contributing to the affairs of this association and is an active member. I and some of my colleagues worked hard to achieve international recognition, and the association has now become very popular and a speaker for the blind’s causes.

The blind consider this association their second home due to the activities they do and the facilities that are available there. The association has achieved a lot of success in resolving a number of issues relating to the blind in the form of employment, enrolling the blind in proper schools, and making available the equipments that are needed to support the blind.

The association continues to receive strong support from the authorities and the private sector institutions.

Some of the many episodes that happened in my life…………..

It’s worth mentioning some of the very interesting, funny events that occurred to me which can be detailed in four episodes:-

  1. On one of those times back in the past years, the Muscat Municipality decided to fix street lights in the Amarat region, and during that period, one day,   I decided to make a market tour on foot with my cousin, Ibrahim (also a blind), who was holding my shoulder during the walk. After the tour, and after our return to our residences, I fell into a big hole, and suddenly Ibrahim found that he had lost my shoulder. If it were not for my screams, Ibrahim would not have known where I was, so he decided to follow the direction of the voice, after which he realized that I was inside a hole. Ibrahim looked for help to remove me from the hole, but could only find a thin, weak and less strong man, who was sitting besides the hole whilst  I was quite heavy. The gentleman laughed and said, “It is better you get a forklift to remove him from inside the hole, but if I tried to remove him, I would fall myself.” i was then taken out of the hole by three people.

  3. One day, i and MY nephew, Faisal Jandub, also a blind, decided to make a street walk. Faisal carried a white stick, and was leading the way, whilst  I  was following him, without a stick. Suddenly, a truck by-passed us, so Faisal immediately derailed from the track they were using to avoid being hit by the vehicle passing by, which resulted in Faisal escaping a fall in a ditch near the road, whilst  I did not. I got himself covered from head to toe with mud. my fall,  was not because I lost Faisal’s guidance but, actually, due to scent of beautiful perfumes and bukhur coming from passer-by women.

  5.  In a similar event as in 2 above, one day, after dinner, and whilst I was again returning after a long walk in one of the streets with my nephew, Faisal (again leader), he derailed slightly to the right, suddenly without notice, and fell into a hole, and I followed suit. Faisal caught my me like a goal keeper would catch a ball. Two young guys, sitting next to the hole, thought that I was intending to hit Faisal with a stick.

  7. The final event , and while I was walking alone this time, and was carrying my blind man’s stick on my right hand, and my small transistor radio in the left, listening to the news, suddenly, I lost track and found myself falling inside a hole, in a sad view of state. My belongings got scattered every where. The radio, the stick, and my sandals, each in different directions. I called for help from passers-bys who moved me out of the hole.

This is how I worked and struggled with life besides my fellow normal colleagues and friends. I thanks Allah, His Almighty for all that he has done and given to me and for simplifying for me and my self-dependence in all my daily affairs.

My story is interesting and worthwhile for those disabled in general, and the blind in particular, to learn from. Life is a journey for all and everybody has to try and live his part of life, and make it fruitful. Bad, as well as good times occur for everybody, and hence no one should give up life because he has some sort of disability. Allah has created every body the way He wants to him to be, to see how each of his creation can make use of the self being.