The happiest moment in a mother’s life is the first time she sees her baby. For Reham, it was a different scenario. She was overjoyed at first until she saw that Soliman, her baby, was bleeding from his left eye. Her state was indescribable when she realized that Soliman would face a lifelong struggle. Her fears of his challenges were outweighed, as she realized how difficult it was going to be for her to help and support him, and this is where her battle began.
Soliman had his first surgery when he was only three days old. They moved from Tanta to Cairo and went from doctor to doctor; living on a string of hope that maybe there was any chance, a miracle, that one day he would be able to see. When Soliman was one year old she brought him to EPAVI but only for a brief period. It was too hard to accept that there was no solution for her son’s difficult condition, and she was still optimistic that a doctor could find a way to change things. From then until he was three, they lived on false hope from doctors, but in the end they had to come to terms with the reality that their son would be visually impaired.
Reham started to realize how all the other children were changing, learning and growing while Soliman stayed small, frightened and shy. He wasn’t even able to play with building blocks because his fine motor skills were too weak, and he had no coordination. He didn’t explore his surroundings, and had to be carried all the time. Everything was done for him. His parents used to constantly live in fear; fear for his future, they were worried he wouldn’t catch up or be able to learn a lot of skills he needed or be able to participate and do all the things any other child would do. They also found difficulty understanding him and therefore had a hard time attending to their child’s needs.
When he was three, Reham decided to bring him back to EPAVI and ever since then they became part of the EPAVI family. By coming here, she has learnt how to deal with Soliman and challenge him in all aspects of life, in order to help him develop his weaknesses and empower his strengths. The NGO also helped them find a nursery and school that would accept him, which really helped him excel educationally, socially and emotionally. This allowed him to interact with other children of his own age in a normal environment.
Soliman is five years old now and attends a regular school. Since his time at EPAVI, his parents have seen a great difference in him. He started becoming more confident and using his hands more to understand his surroundings and to see the world around him. He has come so far from where he started and has achieved so much in such a short period. He can now even read Braille letters on his own, which requires an immense amount of time and effort.
Not only has Soliman excelled at everything he has learnt at EPAVI, but he is also one of the best students in his class at school. When Reham went to a recent parents meeting, she was overwhelmed by how much the teachers loved and praised him for being such an excellent student and pleasant child. She could not imagine a more perfect son and realized that with the right help and support, all the worries she once had for him were not as scary as she believed them to be.