In spite of being visually challenged, Naqi Hyder Rizvi has topped the Industrial Engineering exam of Alfaisal University, Riyadh, while his younger sister Rubab Fatima, with partial vision, is equally capable

You’ll never find a rainbow if you are looking down. And Naqi Hyder Rizvi never did. He always believed in positive anything is better than negative nothing. Today Naqi’s family is justifiably proud of his achievements.

In spite of being visually challenged, Naqi (22) has topped the Industrial Engineering exam of the Alfaisal University, Riyadh, held in June.

Naqi and his younger sister, Rubab Fatima, are victims of congenital glaucoma. While Naqi lost vision in both eyes at the age of seven, his sibling has partial vision in the right eye while the left one is totally blind. Interestingly, both of them have never been to a school for visually-impaired.

Right from nursery they have studied in normal schools and excelled. Fatima (21) is now pursuing B.Sc in Saudi Arabia where her parents have settled down. The family makes an annual visit to Hyderabad for check up at L.V. Prasad Eye Hospital.

Woman of steel

Behind every successful person there is a woman. And in their case it is their mother Mumtaz Fatima. Superhuman is how they describe their mother. An MBA graduate herself, Mumtaz turned down many lucrative jobs just to help her children get a good grounding in education. Love is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. The duo not just feel, but also see the motherly affection showered by Mumtaz which helped them face the challenges upfront.

Right from day one Mumtaz did not allow her children to get the feeling of being disabled. She treated them like normal kids and in this, she got support from her Pakistani husband Sibte Hyder Rizvi. The National Association for Blind, Mumbai, was very supportive.

Many regular schools in Karachi refused to accept the children. Luckily, Springfield School admitted them. But it was only the beginning and not the end of the struggle. A brilliant child, Naqi could easily comprehend and remember what was taught in the classroom. But his mother had to put in extra effort to help him write. “I made clay models of various things so that he can touch and feel the shape. I also made maps using cotton for him to identify,” says Mumtaz.

She also learnt Braille script and experimented with assistive technology like tape recorder, German plastic sheets, computer speaker software, JAWS, to help Naqi learn the lessons.

“I had very understanding and accommodating friends and faculty at the university,” says Naqi.

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision. But Naqi has his plans worked out. Both he and his sister feel a strong sense of belonging for people from both sides of the border since their father is from Pakistan and mother from India.

“I want to be an ambassador of peace,” says Naqi.

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