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Story | Research
19 November 2019

Inspirational students help to make football accessible for all


Sessions at Doha Learning Days demonstrate how the world is experienced by people with a visual impairment

Qatar Academy for Science and Technology students are being empowered to lead football sessions that aim to raise awareness around special needs and inclusivity, while increasing empathy and sensitivity within the community.

Students from the school, which is part of Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education, are being trained by the team behind Qatar Foundation’s Ability Friendly Football Sessions, and they and young soccer fans from other schools put their skills on show during a session at WISE’s Doha Learning Days.

The activity saw participants, including students from Tariq Bin Ziad School, practice dribbling, passing, and shooting – all while blindfolded. The aim of the activity was to help young people understand how someone with a visual impairment experiences the world.

Ghanim Al Rumaihi, a 16-year-old student from Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST), helped to lead a session at Education City. Explaining how the activity helped build a capacity for courage, as well as promoting leadership and mentorship skills, he said: “Initially, teaching boys that are older than me was challenging. But, in the end, it was all good fun.

“Personally, I don’t know anyone who is blind. It was a very eye-opening experience. The activity gave us and the participants some understanding about how blind people live. This was just football, but we could see how difficult it would be.”

The participants that took part in the activity learned how to rely on other senses, how to better communicate with each other, and how to trust their teammates.

Vaughan Lewis, Curriculum Coordinator, QAST, said: “Doha Learning Days has been an opportunity for our students to volunteer, learn some new skills, and stretch them in terms of collaboration, communication, and leadership – essentially, skills that are a little more difficult to develop within the classroom.

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“Our students worked with a group of boys who were older than them, and they were asked to lead them, which was a challenge. But it shows that they can further develop those skills – not strictly academic skills – and build on them to provide them with the best possible future.”

Qatar Foundation initiative WISE’s Doha Learning Days festival wraps up on November 19. The six-day experiential learning event, the first of its kind in Qatar, has been held in the lead-up to the 2019 WISE Summit, which takes place under the theme UnLearn, ReLearn: What it means to be Human from November 19-21 at Qatar National Convention Centre.

For more information about the summit, please visit:

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