Gerald Arhin is totally blind. Fareed Gombila only gets a dim sneak peek of the world around him – he is partially blind.
For an educational system criticized in certain quarters as rigid and uninspiring even for the sighted, you are free to imagine the huge hurdles it presents for those who have lost their sight.
And it gets worse for the visually-impaired who refuse to settle in and who have the audacity to dream of things which the sighted Ghanaian students will not dare to dream.
Gerald is adamant about his ambition to become the President of Ghana in 2052. He cannot see the present. But he can see his future. On paper, Fareed has outdone Gerald. He wants to be the UN Secretary-General.
Glaucoma eclipsed Gerald’s sight by age six years. A surgery on the right eye to correct the defect rather deepened the problem. He was blind on the right eye after the surgery. He went to school relying on only the left eye until that eye was also affected.
“I still remember everything…colours, houses…everything,” he told a fascinated host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Kojo Yankson, Tuesday .
Fareed noticed he was partially blind as a child and learnt to adapt with his little sight. He hailed De Youngesters school in Accra as one of the very few integrated schools in Ghana that are sensitive to children with disabilities.
He has struggled to go through Akropong School of the Blind where inferior braille from inadequate funding by disinterested governments means he struggled even more to learn simple topics in subjects like Science.
“I feel it is not the best” to use braille that are not suitable for learning, he said in a matter-of-fact manner. It was at Akuapem Senior High School that he started to use computers adapted for the visually impaired.
That was where he met Gerald. They have been friends since. They are both in the University of Ghana, third-year students studying Political Science and Psychology. And that was when they met a dissatisfied film maker, Kojo Wiredu Kusi.
“I was tired of calling myself a film maker with nothing to show for it” he said. After hearing of the two ambitious friends, Kojo Wiredu says he felt an internal compulsion to do something about their story – the story of the world of the visually impaired.
“I didn’t have any training in documentary films at all” he said but applied himself to study using Youtube videos and online material.
That was how the documentary, VIP: Visually Impaired Personalities, was produced. At the Silver Bird Cinema, Kusi was delighted to know that the place was packed.
“People didn’t have a place to sit. I was so touched,” he said and gave the glory to God.
Written by: Edwin Appiah/www.myjoyonline.com