UNESCO partners with Sasol to launch series of films challenging stereotypes about the blind

To challenge stereotypes and raise awareness about the situation of the blind in Qatar, UNESCO joined forces with Sasol to release a series of six short films advocating for better inclusion and understanding of people with disabilities.

The films were inspired, written by the main actress in the videos, Kholoud Abu Sharida, who is an Accessible Qatar Ambassador as part of Sasol's flagship "Definitely Able" initiative. The "Definitely Able" initiative also includes Accessible Qatar, a mobile application which identifies, audits and ranks accessible locations in Qatar which UNESCO is a partner of.

The films were officially launched at a public event entitled "Bridging gaps, enabling inclusion for the blind" co-organized by UNESCO, Qatar National Library and Sasol on 15 October 2018 to mark UNESCO-ITU Regional Digital Inclusion for Arab States and on the occasion of White Cane Day.

Speaking during the official launch of the videos, Kholoud Abu Sharida explained that they reflect the difficulties and the challenges the blind face in their daily lives, whether at the office, when going shopping, at the movies or at the doctor. The films seeks to challenge stereotypes by highlighting that the blind are "definitely able" and therefore deserve an equal place and role in our societies.

"I had been hoping to raise awareness about these issues in a creative way for a long time. I wanted to tell my story and that of my friends in a way that could reach a large number people. I eventually thought of films as the best medium to illustrate what I often go through but also to show that we are just like everybody else and can do things like everyone else too," Kholoud Abu Sharida explained.

The event was attended by members and representatives of organisations supporting people with disabilities including Al Noor Institute, Best Buddies, MADA, the Translation and Interpreting Institute along with members of the disabled community, ambassadors, government representatives and the media. 

Sasol supports the blind community in Qatar through a number of initiatives and activities, the latest being the sponsorship of the operetta of the Al Nour Institute for the Blind and the "Blind Football" initiative with the Save the Dream program. The company also donated a new Braille printer to QSCCB to print Braille documents free of charge for the community in Qatar and launched "Accessible Qatar" Ambassadors initiative to enable individuals and allow them to play an active role in promoting accessibility and raising awareness about this issue. 

UNESCO, as the leading UN agency promoting access to information, has launched a series of programmes and activities to foster inclusion for people with disabilities including through increased access to information. Through cooperation with partners and governments, UNESCO advocates for policies, strategies and innovative solutions to support the role of ICTs in bridging gaps for people with disabilities. 

The films, which have been produced with audio-description to be accessible for all, can be seen on the following links:

- At the cinema

- At the office

- At the doctor

- At the mall

- At the restaurant

- At the retail store