Safira Bibi

Profile picture for user safirabibi
Full Name
Safira Bibi
Gender
Province
City
Marital Status
Level Of Education
Institution
Co-curricular Activities
Occupation Type
Years Of Experience
7
Distinction/certification
Best representative of Pakistan, awarded by U.S Department.
Recognized QOM ki bati by I'M Karachi.
First blind person, got selected for Youth Exchange Study Program for U.S.A.
Represented Pakistan in Inclusive training program in Ghana, Short
Listed by U.S department.
Job Details
I work in a private institute with adult blind to make them independent.
Challenges
Frequently facing condescending words.
Biographical Profile
My name is Safira, derived from the word safir which literally means
Ambassador. I was born and raised in a small village of Gilgit
Baltistan (Northern Region of Pakistan) and at the age of 10 I
migrated to Karachi – a metropolitan city of Pakistan. I never
attended school or received education until the age of 11 due to
low vision ; however, attending school was the best thing which
changed my life. Born blind, living in limiting atmosphere where one
lacks accessibility and mobility, I have always been very disappointed
in myself and considered myself a burden to my family and society in
general. Being born different in Pakistani context is very difficult
because if you are blind not only you are limited to perform actions
and participate in social encounters, you are also alienated from the
very atmosphere you live in. But part of the problem also lied within
me. How can I expect people to accept my disability unless I fully
embrace it and make it my strength!
I completed my matriculation in a period of 6 months because I had to
compete with the rest of the world. My school provided me with
confidence, technical skills and happened to make my world much more
accessible than it was ever before. I was befriended with books mostly
but I also had friends in school. It was this time of my life when I
discovered my singing voice and public speaking skills. Shortly after
I ended my school life, I was shortlisted for Youth Exchange Study,
making me the first blind student from Pakistan to study in United
States under this scholarship.
My experience in America was a defining moment of my life. I
represented Pakistan; delivered sessions on Pakistani culture and
context; was awarded 1000 US Dollars for being best representative of
Pakistan, best student of the month, and one of the 8 best students of
the year. Besides all these achievements, I still remember that day
when my teacher taught me to write America in Braille and I asked “Who
is America?” while everyone laughed.
I had never practised my autonomy and never experienced freedom in
Pakistan. In America, I was able to do laundry, travel on my own, do
my own budgeting. As I return back to my country, I finally realised
that Pakistan lacks opportunities for students with visual
impairments, and the responsibility of advocating for the
opportunities for visual impaired students lies on the shoulders of
those who have had the privilege/opportunity to educate themselves. It
was then that I began conducting workshops and camps for visually
impaired youth on mobility and life skills. Today, I work with
multiple NGOs and private institutions to work on advocacy and
outreach components of projects particularly dealing with youth with
visual impairments. I also conduct sessions to inspire and motivate
youth to struggle to achieve their goals. To acknowledge my
achievements and efforts, Pakistan media made documentaries on my life
called ‘The Daughter of Nation,’ ‘National Hero,’ and ‘Strong Lady.’
Currently, I am in my final year of bachelors program and aim to learn
more before I could serve the blind community. I want to make
difference so that to provide every blind child/youth an
opportunity to read, write and represent his/her identity without any
hesitance, so that they may not have to experience the very same
problems which I did.
http://safirabibi.com