For blind and visually impaired people with a non-Western European background it is often difficult to get settled in the Netherlands. For newcomers learning the language, getting the right support and advise, obtaining assistive devices, finding their way around and building a network may prove insurmountable hurdles. For both newcomers and people who have been living in the Netherlands for a while, cultural differences may prove an additional hinderance. In non-Western cultures it is often believed that a visual impairment makes an independent life impossible.
The Migrants Support Service targets both migrants with a visual impairment and the organizations that can help them, provided they have the right expertise to do so. The Service trains and advises language-buddies, volunteers who can support migrants in their own neighborhood. Not only can they help the migrant to practice the language, they can also guide the migrant on a walk or social event. In addition the Service offers training to professionals.
The service is run by Amany Shalha, who arrived in The Netherlands in 2015, an expert by experience, fluent in Dutch and Arabic and familiar with both the Dutch and Arabic cultures. www.oogvereniging.nl/steunpuntmigranten