Legally blind refugee sees road to a career

Confidence growing: Vision-impaired teenager Wahida Mohseni is working towards being independent. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Confidence growing: Vision-impaired teenager Wahida Mohseni is working towards being independent. Picture: Jonathan Ng

LEGALLY blind Wahida Mohseni, 19, says she's come a long way since she arrived in Australia as a refugee from Afghanistan about 10 years ago.

Ms Mohseni and her family had been living in Pakistan before they moved to their new homeland when she was 10.

"My father arrived as an asylum seeker and then after a few years he sponsored us to come out," she said.

Born visually impaired, she said she was once concerned about never being independent or able to work.

"I was a bit confused about what I would be able to do."

But the Liverpool resident said she is now confident that she would be able to do some office work and study for her dream job as a teacher, thanks to a program at Northcott, Casula.

"Maybe it will still be tough for me to control a whole classroom on my own, but I could be supporting the other teachers, like a teacher's aid."

The Transition to Work program is providing Ms Mohseni with skills that she will need to enter the workplace, including teaching her how to use a computer program, called Jaws, which reads out books to her.

"I'm a Braille user too, but this program is very useful; it's going to help me a lot when I continue with my further studies," she said.

Transition to Work co-ordinator Christine O'Neill said the number of people completing the program had tripled in the past two years.

"We started with five clients last year and now we have 15," Ms O'Neill said.

"This high level of demand shows that young people with disabilities in south-west Sydney are eager to find work and are willing to do the hard yards in order to get job-ready.

"We have helped many of the people we support enrol in TAFE courses so they can get qualifications in their chosen fields.

"Our program is based around their individual goals.

"We help out in a range of areas like resume writing, interviewing techniques, cover letter writing and travel training so they can get to and from work independently."

Confidence growing: Vision-impaired teenager Wahida Mohseni is working towards being independent. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Confidence growing: Vision-impaired teenager Wahida Mohseni is working towards being independent. Picture: Jonathan Ng

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