After visiting Somalia last March, CGDS nominated Mr. Ismail Ahmed Ali for the D-30 Disability Impact Listbecause of his extraordinary work with the Al Basir School for the Blind in Mogadishu. This list honors the accomplishments of the most impactful community members globally. Of 300 nominations, 30 leaders with disabilities were selected for this honor. All thirty honorees can be found at https://mydiversability.com/2021-d30. The announcement for Mr. Ismail is below.
Ismail has said, “We have to rely on miracles until we don’t need them anymore.” Before the Al Basiir School for the Blind, there was no systematic education for blind students in Somalia. He studied at the Nairobi Blind School until it was closed by terrorists. He returned to Mogadishu and was part of the impetus for founding the school in 2011. Now the school’s principal, he is also an advocate and role model, working toward the day when human rights will replace miracles.
Parents of children with disabilities in Somalia are fearful and ashamed, but Ismail worked with the families to convince them, successfully, to send six girls and three boys to the school. He was also instrumental in the Education Department in Somalia’s providing Braille exams. The 2020 group, the fifth class from the nominee’s school, completed their exams in Braille. Without Ismail’s school, there would be few, if any, blind students graduating.
We asked Ismail if he would like to add anything else to his accomplishments, and he stated: “I always do counseling to people who become disabled during their lifetime due to car accidents, shooting, and sickness. Educating people with visual impairment at school or their homes. Taking people with disabilities to newly sight areas like beaches, forests, and wildlife in order to reduce stress and increase self-esteem. To hold activities for the blind students like goalball.”
Many congratulations to Mr. Ismail and to all disability advocates.
Image description: a square graphic on a blue gradient background with the header: “The D-30 Impact List, 2021 Honoree, Ismail Ahmed Ali, he/him/his, Somalia.” Ismail’s headshot on the right. Ismail is a black man with short hair and is wearing a black suit. At the bottom, “Diversability, #D30DisList.”