Congratulations to Safira Bibi from Karachi, Pakistan, the May YES Student of the Month! A student at both the Kentucky School for the Blind and Central High School in Louisville, KY, Safira has had “an amazing ‘can do’ outlook all year,” according to her placement organization, ASSE. After facing limited educational opportunities in Pakistan, she welcomed the challenging environment at both her American schools, and was grateful to be able to study math, science and U.S. history. Safira has experienced a number of firsts this year in the United States. At KSB, Safira participated in cheerleading and competed in track, winning three ribbons. Through forensics, she discovered her love of public speaking. Although by her own account she had difficulty speaking English when she arrived, she made so much progress that in April, at a speech tournament sponsored by the North Central Association of Schools for the Blind, she took second place for her dramatic reading of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. An excellent ambassador of her country, she has give ten country presentations and public speeches in all, including presentations at both her schools and at Lions Clubs.
Safira has learned to cook, shop, clean and budget independently and also to use a white cane for independent travel. She is very appreciative of her host parents, Maria and Kenneth Jones and her three host siblings, Kenny Jr., Alicia and Cameron (pictured) and has developed a warm relationship with them. They are also visually impaired, and Safira calls them “good guides, good friends, good teachers and good role models for me….They can show me what it’s like to be an independent blind person.” Safira is the first blind student from Pakistan to come on the YES program and will be an inspiration to future YES students in her country. With her YES year coming to a close, Safira writes, “I have many dreams now, and this year gave me the courage and skills to work to achieve those dreams.”