Phoenix’s Khan sets example for blind and sighted alike

2016-10-10 12:17
Visually impared Suffura Khan shows off one of her KZN Women of Excellence awards.

Visually impared Suffura Khan shows off one of her KZN Women of Excellence awards. (Supplied)

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Suffura Khan may be visually impaired, but she certainly does not lack vision.

Despite being blind, Khan has been participating in the sport of blind rally navigation since 1992.

Khan explains that some of the challenges faced by blind people are that there are very few sports that they can actually do.

“Many blind people like rally navigation as this is a motor sport that blind people can appreciate as a navigator, but not a driver,” said Khan, who was born in Durban.

With rally navigation, the sighted drivers have to rely on their blind navigators who read a Braille route schedule, giving the driver speed, signposts and directions to get to the end of the race course, which is normally around 125 km.

Khan was born with glaucoma, an eye condition that results in loss of vision as it permanently damages the optic nerve that transmits visual images to the brain.

Besides Khan being a rally navigator, she works as an HOD of skills development at the South African National Zakáh Fund (Sanzaf), a social welfare and educational organisation based in the Phoenix area.

“I teach life skills, run the employment bureau and help people find jobs,” said Khan.

She is also the founder of a volunteer-based organisation, the Phoenix Light Group for the Physically Challenged, which has been in existence for more than 12 years.

“We organise social, recreational and rehabilitation programmes and activities for all people with disabilities in Durban and surrounding areas. I motivate blind people to get involved in many programmes,” said Khan.

Khan also likes hiking and is a motivational speaker. She has two grown sons. She has not allowed her blindness to stand in her way and continues to live her life to the fullest.

The next competition to test the route navigation skills of the blind will be held in Durban at the David Landau centre on November 6. Khan encourages people to support this sport by participating.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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