Determination makes sense

Amani Al Nuaimi refuses to be defined by lifelong blindness. Instead, the graduate and masters student uses what many see as adversity to move her life ahead, Rezan Oueiti writes.

Amani Al Nuaimi is an achiever with skill, learning, patience and determination. Sarah Dea / The National
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AJMAN // Being blind has never been an obstacle for Amani Al Nuaimi. Instead, she says, her lack of sight has given her the strength and motivation she needed to achieve academic and professional success.

The Emirati, who was born blind, holds a bachelors in administrative science from the Ajman University of Science and Technology and is studying for a masters in strategic management and leadership at Skyline University College in Sharjah while working as an assistant administrator at the Emirates Identity Authority.

Throughout her life she has striven to overcome both the hurdles her disability puts in her way and the way society treats the blind.

“The rudeness of some people who say ‘she is blind and doesn’t deserve to be in this job’ and the priority placed on people who can see has taught me to be patient and strong,” said the 29-year-old, whose job often requires her to train dozens of members of staff at the EIA.

“I know that I am successful because people only criticise achievers. In addition, even if I can’t read what was written that doesn’t mean I have to stay at home and I don’t have the ability to do my job.”

Ms Al Nuaimi’s academic achievements are a great source of pride, particularly as she was able to study in mainstream education.

“In the beginning, I studied in a centre for blind people but in the eighth grade I moved to a normal school after the decision was made to integrate students with disabilities. In this school, the study was easy when Braille books were available.

“But in the university, unfortunately, I faced many difficulties because they didn’t accept [blind students] to study administrative science. They used to say ‘You are blind, you have to study Arabic or English literature or law’. Even when I started my masters they told me the same thing.

“But I said to myself ‘I will study and there won’t be an obstacle in front of me and I will challenge them and prove myself’.”

Ms Al Nuaimi’s parents never treated her differently from the rest of the family. Her mother gave her her share of household chores.

“When I was a child, I used to feel like I was in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs because I am the eldest. I was dressing my younger siblings, waking them up to go to school and helping them with their studies.

“My mother dealt with me efficiently and enabled me to do everything,” she added. “My parents treatment made me strong in life.”

As for the future, Ms Al Nuaimi has big plans.

“I want to continue my studies, get a Phd, to travel abroad and to open an institution to train people on administrative affairs. I would like study perfumes abroad, because I love perfumes.”