Meet Abdelrahman Othman, the Egyptian who conquered blindness and technology

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took part in an event for people with special needs, titled “Different Capacity,” which took place at the Al-Manara center in the Fifth Colony on Sunday.

On this occasion, Daily News Egypt presents the story of Abdelrahman Othman who was the first visually impaired person in Egypt to introduce the computer world to his peers.

Othman was born in the 1960s. He graduated in the 80s of the twentieth century from the Faculty of Languages ​​and Translation of Al-Azhar University and joined the Research and Policy Information Section of the Programs Department news from Egyptian television.

At the age of 19, the boy was destined to lose his sight. Doctors told him that he suffers from “Retinitis pigmentosa”, known in Egypt as “Night blindness”, so he must prepare well to enter the world of the blind, at age 16, during which he tried. to build part of his future while he was seeing, his eyes were still on his new world. It was painful at first, but he tried to adapt quickly, but for this world he was an inspirer who did a great feat immortalized in history.

Othman first applied to join a job as a TV movie translator, but by this time the news predominated in Maspero. The young man passed the tests and won first place among the candidates to begin his journey to Maspero in 1984.

At that time, he was no more than 24 years old, his eyesight started to deteriorate from time to time, but he was correcting the situation, especially since his poor eyesight did not stand in his way, even he was having some difficulties at his job, which he overcame by using magnifying lenses on the one hand, and also Helping some colleagues to write on the other hand.

“The day I lost the ability to read, I said I was officially blind.” In 1994, the young man’s condition deteriorated and he lost his sight permanently, but due to his successes on television, especially in translating films and newsreels, as well as writing documentaries. , no one was able to give it up, so industry news executives were sure they would let them go. This talent will lose them a lot, so “Othman” continued his work in the Maspero building despite the loss of sight.

The problem with Othman was not in his job, so he used his colleagues to help him write programs, given how difficult he was at first, but he got used to it, but the greater difficulty for him was psychological difficulty. His job, but fate was with me in the other.

Othman entered the world of the blind, grieved by what they suffer, that category which reads obsolete tools. In schools, students face major problems until they can get their textbooks, which require a long period of preparation and preparation in Braille.

Also, the cost of books was very expensive, but with the advent of the talking computer, of which “Othman” contributed to his entry into the homeland, but also his development on the method of learning from the manual method to the automatic method.

“The first time a talking computer came to me, I felt its value and it was also at the same time that the Internet coincided with the advent. Before that, blind people had the greatest need to listen to the radio or someone reading a book to them.

In the 1990s, a modern device for assisting the blind appeared in the United States of America called the “talking computer”. Othman learned at the time of the invention, despite its high cost, but decided to buy it with the money he had collected from the start of his work, and the computer cost him around 70,000 pounds to the time.

Othman’s journey did not end with obtaining a computer, but he had a great experience later, as he began to work on the development of the device, which had two programs. different, the first reading the images through the “scanner” and converting them to ringing later, but this voice was in English. Therefore, none of the blind who do not know the English language will be able to use it, and the second is to dictate their scripts to the computer. . The two programs did not work together, so the computer was not reading what it heard.

At first, Othman’s friends played a big role in helping him learn the computer, in addition to the teaching materials he listened to on the Internet, and in 5 months he had mastered the use of the computer .

“The computer was the product of an international company. I called them and told them why not merge the two programs. They told me it was impossible. But there is yet another more difficult task, which is to combine two audio input and output programs into one program.

Othman worked on the device until he succeeded on December 25, 1995, when he remembered having activated the two programs together which were until now present in all computers and phones for blind.

“The idea at the time was new to the world insofar as American friends did not believe it. They told me to film you and send the video to us while you were talking. Everyone was fascinated by Othman’s great achievement, so he was invited to the Mediterranean Media Forum, which was held in Morocco in 1996 when the experience was presented to the public. The world saw this as a unique achievement.

It was from there that a new life began for the blind, not only in Egypt but in the world. Othman, who contributed to this development, was his main motivation for the blind to live like other citizens. They are informed of everything that is happening around them without suffering, they learn without difficulty, they work and contribute to their society like the others.

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