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Coming to RNC, you're with
people in the same boat as you
In 2016, Hafsa, from Huddersfield, was diagnosed with cataracts, Uveitis and Glaucoma but she pretty much carried on as normal and it was assumed surgery would correct some of those problems eventually.
However, in 2017, at the age of 17 and halfway through studying A Levels, Hafsa woke up over the Christmas holidays to find she couldn't see anything. Doctors confirmed that the cataracts were as fully formed as they could be and worse still, they were stuck down. This meant that if Hafsa went for surgery there was a 70 per cent chance that it would fail.
Really good grades were predicted for her A Levels but she had to make some tough choices. She was desperate to finish sixth form and head to university with her friends but sight loss was holding her back.
Her family really struggled to adjust too. It was an emotional time for them all but, they continued to pray and took Hafsa to Mecca, to Umrah (an Islamic pilgrimage). Hafsa said:
'I loved it, it was a very peaceful moment for me.'
Hafsa found out about RNC through a friend. She did some research and then, along with her Habilitation Officer, came along to one of the College open days.
As with most families, Hafsa's family struggled with the thought of her leaving home to go and live so far away but she was determined and fast forward to 2020 and Hafsa completed her A Levels and headed off to university.
Alongside Independent Living Skills (ILS), Mobility and IT, Hafsa studied A Levels in English Literature, History, Performing Arts and Level 2 Braille. She is also worked towards an Extended Project Qualification on her chosen subject, the 'Partition of India'.
'Coming to RNC, you're with people in the same boat as you so if somebody doesn't know how to cook it's not embarrassing; you don't have to explain your visual impairment to anyone; you don't have to deal with the whole stigma of 'oh you're blind!' or 'What's wrong with you?' You're not put into a box.'
'The biggest thing with RNC is the support of staff members, they understand and don't say to you 'Why can't you get this done?' You don't have to deal with the hassle of 'Can I have this enlarged?' or put your hand up constantly for assistance.'
'At RNC everything is already here for you, the teachers know how to make everything accessible and the students just get it, they're not going to ask you stupid questions; they're not going to say stupid things to you and aren't going to say 'What's wrong with you?' The students' as a community become quite strong with each other.'
Hafsa shares a bit more about her RNC experience in this short film:
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