Large impact with modest resources

Maysan lecturer empowers visually-impaired students with audio English courses

MAYSAN — Haifa Kadhim, a lecturer at Maysan University’s College of Education, has developed an audio-based English language curriculum, enabling visually-impaired students to learn conversational English effectively.

With modest resources, Kadhim recorded the program, making it accessible for visually impaired students like law student Meitham Saadoun, who supported Kadhim’s efforts.

The project quickly garnered attention and assistance from local radio broadcasters and educators who joined the initiative to contribute recordings.

Communication technology, like Zoom, also allowed for broader participation. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we expanded our online education efforts, which was particularly beneficial for girls who were unable to attend classes in person and visually impaired students,” Kadhim explained to 964media.

The project began by identifying individuals proficient in English who could record educational material. It has since seen contributions from academics and broadcasters across Maysan, Babil, Karbala, Baghdad, and Salah Al-Din governorates.

“Our goal is to create a dedicated platform for teaching conversational English to visually impaired students,” Kadhim stated.

Saadoun shared his personal challenges in learning English, as why he joined the project.

“Facing difficulties in receiving English lessons as a visually impaired student, I was helped by friends and inspired to join Dr. Haifa in creating a platform, dedicated for learning,” he said.

“Now, I coordinate between her and other visually impaired students, recording as much of the curriculum as I can to illuminate the path for others,” he added.

Iqbal Hamid, another lecturer from Maysan University, praised the wide participation the online courses have attracted. “We’ve held several sessions for conversation courses in English, and one of the advantages of the electronic courses was the wide participation from different governorates, and in one of the courses, visually impaired people from Syria and Lebanon and a significant number of females attended,” he said.

“It was a wonderful experience for us and the students, as the project was met with great success.”

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