Braille Monitor                                                 May 2012

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Saudi Arabian Visitors at the National Center for the Blind

Often on presidential releases and in the annual presidential report we hear about the number of people who have visited our national center. The numbers are impressive, but what do they mean in human terms?

In January Khaled Suleiman Abdullah, executive director of the Charity Society for the Visually Impaired (Ibsar-Insight) in Saudi Arabia, and Ahmed M. Alammar, Ibsar-Insight board member and translator (a graduate of George Mason University), made a day-long visit to the National Center for the Blind. They had learned about the National Federation of the Blind by doing a search of the web and were intrigued at the thought that a handful of members could come together to form a movement that would eventually represent 50,000 blind citizens. They decided they wanted to visit the largest organization of the blind in the United States and were particularly impressed with our programs for young people.

Mr. Abdullah has two blind teenage sons. They use Braille and computers with screen-reading software, but cane travel is not taught in the Kingdom. So impressed were our visitors with the comprehensive training we offer that they changed their plans, flew to the Louisiana Center for the Blind for several days, decided to send someone to learn how to provide cane travel training in their country, and plan to attend the national convention in Dallas with four or five teens. So the next time you hear those visitor statistics from the podium, consider what they mean in changed lives and enhanced opportunities, and take pride in knowing that all of us are a part of the National Federation of the Blind.

Ahmed M. Alammar (left) and Khaled Suleiman Abdullah (right) visit with Dr. Joanne Wilson, NFB executive director of affiliate action and former director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind.

Visitors from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Khaled Suleiman Abdullah and Ahmed M. Alammar, shop in the Independence Market. Ellen Ringlein answers their questions and prepares to demonstrate the aids and appliances we sell.

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