Fernando Moleres – Blind Women Orchestra
“The association Al-Nour wal Amal (Light and hope) was founded in 1954 by Istiqlal Radi, the daugther of a healthy landowner. She was aware of the problems of the blind in Egyptian society ‘a blind girl, especially in the countryside, has nothing to do but sit in the house, until she reaches a point where she is retarded – not mentally retarded, but socially retarded, culturally backward. She is afraid to work. She is afraid to speak’. By the early 1950s, the government-supported training center for blind boys was already in operation, and Radi wanted to offer similar opportunities to girls.
Over the years, Al-Nour wal Amal has grown into a kind of conglomerate. Eighty girls and women live in the dormitory at the association’s center that offers studies and work (manufacture carpets, basketry, socks, knitwear and plastic bottles in the association’s workshops.”
“But the most famous section of the Association Al-Nour wal Amal Orchestra is a blind orchestra that has played music in many countries around the world lead by the hand of conductor Ahmed Abu el-Aid. He said ‘It’s just a myth that blind has an special sensitivity to play, in my experience the blind are just like the sighted. The only difference, really, is that the blind have more problems because a normal orchestra have one eye on the conductor and the other on the score. They must work harder’.”