After losing eyesight seven years ago, Palestinian prodigy Munes Nazzal, 22, never allowed the handicap to spoil his dreams. Teaching English linguistics to the students at Birzeit University in West Bank, he can recognize colours, use smartphones and laptops like a normal person.
Managing a YouTube channel, he has given hope to visually impaired people in their everyday lives by educating them about opportunities and ways to lead a normal life.
“Knowing Nazzal as an English literature student, I realized what a passionate, compassionate, and, the most importantly modest person he is. He never quit functioning and was always willing to contribute, from teaching students in lower classes online, particularly those subjected to COVID-19 limitations, to assisting in extracurricular activities,” Marah Qoud, who is Nazzal’s colleague at the college told Anadolu Agency.
In September, Nazzal was invited by TED -- an American media organization that posts talks online for free distribution – to tell his story and motivate visually challenged people across the world.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, he mentioned how he lost eyesight at the age of 15 and then overcoming to challenges at school and home.
Nazzal who does not want to be treated with mercy or as a victim, however, acknowledged that there were challenges with the people with blindness.
"Our life as a blind is difficult. There are endless concerns about how the others are looking at you. If they respect us or they believe we are disabled,” he said.
Born in Qalqilah -- a Palestinian city in the West Bank 80 kilometres (49 miles) northeast of Ramallah – Nazzal had to undergo surgical procedures in the early years of life. But that did not help. He started losing eyesight gradually.
“At the age of 15, when I was coming back from school, the world became completely dark. At that moment I was wondering if I lost my last little light forever," he said.
But he soon proved that vision does not come from the eyes alone, but the head and determination.
- Blind can dream
"All people around me can see, but they do not have a real and great effect. For me, my intellectual beliefs flow from my heart, and this is the honest shine for me," he added.
In one of his video lectures, on his channel, he explains that blind people can not dream about shapes, because they have never seen any, but they do dream about sounds and physical sensations.
He was ranked first at Qalqilah governorate secondary high school examinations by securing 98.2% of marks.
In February, Nazzal graduated from Birzeit University with distinction.
But being a high-achiever is not what Nazzal is known for. From his earliest days at the university, he made every effort to help his peers, both academically and socially.
He assisted students with special needs in accessing the university’s online learning management system and using the learning resources offered, such as braille embossers and text magnifiers.
“He motivated his colleagues to perform many social and academic activities during the COVID-19 period,” said Qoud, his classmate.