Mohammad Ashour Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Students at Zayed University have lent a helping hand, or in this case, a helping voice by recording a famous Arabic play in an audio format for their fellow classmates who are visually impaired.

Launched by the university’s Office of Happiness, the project aims to spread positivity among its special needs students, and allow them to appreciate and enjoy modern Arabic plays despite their disabilities.

“The idea of this project is to get special needs students involved in the community and allow them to enjoy Arabic literature even if they cannot read. Our students got together and recorded well-known Arabic play ‘Nahar Al Junun’ (The River of Madness) in an audio CD format,” said Mohammad Ashour, the lead supervisor of the project.

“The UAE has created several initiatives to encourage reading, and so we told ourselves that it was important to have special needs students involved with these initiatives even if they cannot read. We didn’t think that these students should be left out because of a disability,” he added. “Audio books are very helpful for the blind and visually impaired students. With the advent of technology, audio books became an acceptable substitute for Braille reading,” he said.

Ashour said that other positive aspects behind the project was the spirit of volunteerism it instilled among students.

“Our aim for this project was to help the special needs students, but to complement that, we also wanted to promote voluntary work among our students and team work.

“Another advantage is that such projects help polish the skills of our students in speaking in Arabic, and undertaking work related to Arabic speech and the language itself,” he added.

One of the students involved in the project, Nasrah Alawi, said she took part because she wanted to make the lives of special needs students easier.

“Such work is like a community service. I wanted to help students with special needs, and to make their lives more easy.

“We recorded and narrated the play for around one month on the university campus, and when we completed the CD and handed it to the special needs students, they were really happy and encouraged us to do more recordings,” she added.

Alawi said she was looking forward to doing more community work in the light of 2017 being declared the Year of Giving.

“Giving back to the community is always important, and I believe that we should do our part to help people. This project is just one small way in which we did that.”