Nureddin Amro is pioneering a new approach to education for the visually impaired in Palestine, who are denied equal education opportunities because the government is unable to provide appropriate services to those with special needs. Visually handicapped himself, Nureddin is building a more inclusive future for the blind through integrated education, where children are taught side-by-side in a learning environment that fosters understanding and equality.
Nurredin’s long-term objective is the complete integration of the blind and special needs into the community on the basis of equality. Since opening its doors in 2007, the Siraj al-Quds School for integrated education has served more than 1000 children in Jerusalem and has offered formal education to those aged four through thirteen, accepting students demonstrating the most financial need.
Nureddin hires both sighted and visually-impaired teachers and trains them to use adaptive and inclusive educational techniques and innovative technology to assist in the learning process. Siraj al-Quds school develops an inclusive curriculum an appropriate educational environment and implement a wide range of creative and innovative activities to provide the visually impaired with the skills to integrate into their community. Nureddin’s integrated-education model has been so successful that he is unable to meet the demand for enrollment and is currently seeking to expand his school to a facility large enough to accommodate more students.
Through his work, Nureddin is using education as a platform to provide equal opportunity for the visually handicapped and special needs in order to create a more equitable and participatory role for them in the Palestinian society. Siraj al-Quds has created affiliations with national and international organizations, Palestinian communities and local offices to serve the goal of equality and inclusion for the blind and disabled people. Most recently, this inclusive educational system has been adopted officially by the Palestinian ministry of education and will be implemented gradually in public schools starting from the academic year 2014/2015.
As an individual, Nureddin has become an activefigure in the Palestinian community for his continuous efforts to change the social perspective of his people towards the visually handicapped and special needs. Most recently, Nureddin has started to implement an empowerment program for mothers of disabled and special needs children to help them overcome the challenges which they encounter in family and society. The program has benefit close to 250 mothers, and will be expanded to help build the capacities of more marginalized women.
Siraj al-Quds was also awarded the Palestinian Innovation in Education prize from Elham Palestine in 2011. That same year, the school also received an award from Prince Talal Ben AbdAl-Azeez in Saudi Arabia for its unique services for visually handicapped children.