By Maya Hariz
Ruba Al-Riyahi is now the first blind journalist to join Jordan’s press association.
“People with disabilities are always considered to be in need of help. So many find it strange when we are successful or achieve anything,” she stated, “I felt a responsibility to reflect a bright image of myself and of others, to show that we can achieve anything we want.”
Al-Riyahi has been a lifestyle reporter for 7 years now. She had a rough start trying to find employment after graduating from university, but after 2 years she shared her story on a radio station.
Al-Ghad, the editor-in-chief of the Jordan paper heard her story and offered her a job. Now, Al-Riyahi is relying on technology and is writing using “a regular computer” as she can transcribe her pieces herself.
Al-Riyahi joined the Jordanian Press Association in March. The union offers certain privileges for its members such as housing opportunities and scholarships for their children. She made it a point to lift up others and regularly visit her old high school, Jordan’s first school for the visually impaired.
She is a strong role model for other children like her with a dream.
According to The WHO 285 million visually impaired people in the world and 39 million as legally blind. Of those who are blind 90% live in the developing world.
Unemployment rates are very low for the blind, however, they have risen for the visually impaired because of advances in technology making it easier for them to work and carry out many employment activities. There are limited statistics on the internet about the unemployment rates in the world.
The World Health Survey, which provided population-based data from adults ages 18 and older from 70 countries of the world, allows us to examine employment in people with and without visual difficulty.