A Symbol of Courage: Salah el-Din Hassan
By Makarim Mohammed
Last year on International Day of People with Disabilities, UNAMID had spoken to a brave and enterprising blind student from Korma, North Darfur, Salah el-Din Abdurrahman Hassan, who shared his story about being born disabled in this conflict-torn region.
Despite being blind, Salah el-Din revealed how he, together with his family, fled his village and arrived at the Abu Shouk camp for displaced persons near El Fasher, North Darfur. Undeterred by his physical challenges, Salah el-Din joined the secondary school in the camp; these days he is enrolled for a Bachelors’ degree in Psychology at the El Fasher University.
This year, UNAMID decided to revisit this courageous man to find out how he is coping with the demands of a university education. Salah el-Din reveals that during his time in university, he focuses on his lessons with the aid of a special audio recorder given to him by the Sudanese Association for Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled. The recorder enables him to revisit his lectures at a later time.
“Technology, such as this recorder, has really helped people like me, who have special needs, to fulfill their dreams,” he avers. Salah el-Din also says that his mobile phone and the social media applications available on it help him keep in touch with friends and relatives. He says he has memorized the phone’s keypad and developed a unique system of sharing information through it, adding that it his belief that, despite being blind, he is no different from others; he merely has to find novel ways to perform most common tasks.
Popular among his friends, fellow students, teachers and community, this ambitious young man is also a talented musician and songwriter. Additionally, he is the Cultural and Media Secretary of the Abu Shouk Youth Union as well as Secretary of the Sudanese Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled, the organization which, according to him, “gave all the moral, psychological and social support I need in my life.”
Each year, on 3 December, the United Nations observes the International Day of People with Disabilities to highlight the issues they face and recognize their contributions in a world in which they are not only marginalized and disenfranchised, but also challenged by ignorance and discrimination. Salah el-Din’s story perhaps, is a near perfect illustration of this year’s theme, “Sustainable development: the promise of technology.”