00001_0Established in 1977 under difficult socio-economic conditions, Friendship Association of the Blind, through a focused vision and, through the hard work of its office-bearers as well as members, has emerged as the largest and most important organization of the blind in Jordan today. It is able to reach out to a significant number of 27000 beneficiaries throughout the country. The national office of Friendship Association of the Blind (popularly known as FAB) is located in the Capital of Jordan, Amman. Two other provincial and territorial divisions are located in Irbid and Zarqa. By working with and through its members, the organization has been able to achieve significant milestones in the areas of education, employment and rehabilitation. It has as its philosophy, the inspiring vision of a community where people who are blind or partially sighted are empowered to participate on an equal basis in any aspect of life they choose. The organization attempts to actualize this vision by providing services, undertaking research and supporting education of the visually impaired persons. FAB supports the education of blind and partially sighted persons at the school level by providing textbooks and equipments. The higher education of such persons is also subsidized. As an innovative initiative, the organization has set up a comprehensive resource center and e-library where latest technology for the use of the visually impaired persons is available. The users can serf internet here as well as use computers, scanners and Braille printers as per requirements. This resource center-cum-e-library has immensely enhanced the popularity and use of technology among the visually impaired. FABs interventions towards the employment of the visually impaired include preparing the blind and the partially sighted for inclusive employment, networking with the prospective employers, providing need-based training to visually impaired persons who cannot be accommodated in mainstream employment for various reasons and, augmenting interpersonal and daily living skills of blind and partially sighted persons to ensure better prospects for them. Apart from information access and employment oriented projects, FAB has also given due importance to mobility training. Whereas on the one hand it provides mobility training to the blind, on the other, it has launched a national initiative to ensure that roads and buildings are constructed taking into account accessibility features for the visually impaired. Realizing that medical care is an important aspect of life and that many visually impaired persons may not be able to afford appropriate and costly treatment, it has networked with several doctors and hospitals. Owing to such a networking, many visually impaired persons are now able to get free medical treatment and even some free surgeries in Jordan. The zeal, with which Friendship Association of the Blind has worked, is manifest in the fact that around 1200 visually impaired persons have been able to secure gainful employment due to its hard work. This is no small achievement as procuring employment even for one visually impaired person in a country like Jordan implies considerable effort. Its interventions have led to the Government passing a law for persons with disabilities which covers both government and private entities. Though FAB has already made a mark for itself, it is many future plans to improve the condition of the visually impaired persons in Jordan. These include setting up more branches, enhancing the capacity of its e-library, providing broader and more comprehensive educational services and financial support as well as women empowerment projects. FAB has played an important role in the Asian Blind Union during recent years. Its President, Mr. Ahmad Allouzi served as the Treasurer of Asian Blind Union from 2004-08. During this period, he also represented Asian Blind Union in WBU. Ms. Shaden Elewat was a member of the Childrens Committee of the Asian Blind Union from 2002-04 and again from 2004-08. Presently, she is a member of the Education Committee of the Asian Blind Union. The contribution of the Friendship Association of the Blind was well recognized by the international blindness community when, in the year 2008, Mr. Ahmad Allouzi, President FAB, was elected as the President, Asian Blind Union for a four year term. www.fabjo.org