Within the second session of the Writing for People with Special Needs Initiative supervised and managed by Professor Mukhtar Khawaja, the Qatari Forum for Authors on Sunday evening hosted on its YouTube channel Mr. Faisal Al-Kooheji, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Qatar Social and Cultural Centre for the Blind, to discuss ways to educate the blind.
Professor Al-Kooheji said on the role of state institutions in educating the blind, that the Qatar Social and Cultural Centre exerts more effort in this field, as it directs its services to two different groups, the first being people with special needs, which is the main target group of the Centre’s activities. The second part is directed at institutions and the society in general. For people with special needs, the centre is concerned with the activities and initiatives it adopts to raise the cultural level of this group, whether through the establishment of cultural activities such as workshops and cultural meetings or highlighting the topic of reading for the blind. In this context the Centre has a set of contributions, particularly in the field of developing writing. A set of courses was organized, the most important of which was the short story writing course presented by writer Dalal Khalifa. Also, with the beginning of the pandemic, the forum organized a session entitled Reading in a Time of Social Distancing for People with Visual Impairment through which the most important books directed to them were highlighted as well as the methods that help them to read and make good use of time, especially in these exceptional circumstances.
Mr. Faisal Al-Kooheji added that the Centre seeks, through its activities, to introduce visually impaired people to the most important writers in the State of Qatar as well as to their books. The writer introduces his work and reads excerpts from it to the attendees in order for them to discuss i. The last of the activities carried out by the Centre in this context were the discussion of “Return of Justice” by Professor Mukhtar Khawaja during the month of June.
In the same context, he explained that among the main objectives of the Centre is the integration of the blind in society, and that is why the general public is invited to the Centre’s activities. Furthermore, attendance is no longer limited to the State of Qatar, but is rather directed to interested people in various countries of the world, especially with that shift to broadcasting activities through social media platforms since the beginning of the pandemic.
He further expressed his pride in the affiliation of a group of writers with special needs to the Centre, as the Centre has contributed to the development of many talents in the field of writing. He also commended the role of state institutions in supporting the Centre’s activity and supporting people with special needs, noting that there are strenuous efforts to facilitate the blind’s access to sources of knowledge and culture in all their forms and types.
Moreover, Mr. Faisal Al-Kooheji called for more references for the blind, whether as audio productions or in Braille, noting that there are many difficulties facing the issuance of books for the blind, including their high cost and the fact that they are directed to a small group.