Khalil’s Story: My visual impairment will not stop me from achieving my dreams

04 March 2019
UNRWA student in Lebanon, Khaled Safouri behind his Braille book at class.© 2019 UNRWA Photo by Abeer Noof

Khalil Al-Safouri is a visually impaired student at the UNRWA Ein al Asal school in Lebanon. Currently a sixth grade student, Khalil has been visually impaired since he was born. His limited vision greatly affected his academic attainment during his early school years. It was difficult for him to differentiate letters of the alphabet given his vision challenges.

His visual impairment hasn’t stopped Khalil from developing a strong love for knowledge. "I have a strong attachment to education. It is the only way for us to build a better future. There have been great challenges in my path to achieving my goals. But even though I’ve had to overcome difficulties because of my eyesight, nothing will be able to stop me from reaching my full potential," he says.

One person that Khalil credits for helping him on his journey is his UNRWA school counselor. Mr Abed Albaset Hamoud and Ms. Lina Zeidan Gregularly communicated with Khalil’s parents and teachers. Khalil’s recalls, “I love my school because of the kindness and love my counselor and teachers give me. I also love the encouragement and patience that my geography teacher shows me every day. I love teacher Sanaa, who always plays with me and my friends. This support has helped me tremendously as I face the challenges in my life.”

He adds, smiling broadly from behind his small Braille book, with his glasses polished and his body upright with ambition and clear purpose: "I love to take care for animals and I dream of becoming a veterinarian one day. I want to be the first veterinarian to take care of the animals in the camp. This is my dream even though I have vision problems! I know this will make my dream harder to achieve but I’ve learned that nothing is impossible and nothing can stop a person from dreaming.”  He continues, "I am supported not only by my teachers, but also by my classmates! They always make an effort to include me in extracurricular activities. I love the spirit of kindness and companionship I have been shown," he says.

Khaled, as described by his teacher Ms. Sanaa, is a smart, active and eloquent child. He engages with his friends in his class, discusses and has initiatives. His self-confidence is unique and not typical of children his age. “He really deserves attention and care,” reiterates Ms. Sanaa, “We work hard to help him in any way we can to achieve his dreams.”

Thanks to donors like the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, UNRWA was able to open the doors of its 711 schools across the Middle East on time for all its students. The Agency thanks the Government of Saudi Arabia and its humanitarian arm KSrelief for its support and dedication to Palestine refugee families in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem).