A supermarket in Lebanon called "Marqet" is now officially blind-friendly, according to a source. This initiative is the first of its kind in the Middle East.
The NGOs Red Oak and Youth Association of the Blind (YAB) collaborated to help the blind and the visually impaired shoppers have a better shopping experience.
Five employees at Marqet attended a two-day workshop to learn how to guide shoppers and do the right actions.
When the employees notice that a customer is blind or visually impaired, they will suggest supporting him/her by walking through the aisles with them, showcase and describe the products, and assist them with the payment procedure.
This initiative eases the shopping experience for blind people. We hope other businesses such as banks, stores, and supermarkets will follow Marqet's example.
Provinding visually impaired people with help is necessary to let them reach their full potential. One example that supports this argument is Rabih El Jammal who is the first blind Lebanese runner to complete the Beirut Marathon.
Rabih successfully completed the 42-kilometer course. He was accompanied by his running partner Mary Kleyany, an experienced marathon runner.
Achieving this goal was not a piece of cake. Mary was doing double the effort: she was running the marathon, and guiding a blind man.
She researched extensively and learned that a relationship based on trust is essential to the blind person and their guide.
Their story inspired other people to take up the challenge. Rabih is a role model and an inspiration to the people who have disabilities. He wants to encourage blind people to run because it’s a great experience. As for Mary, she wants to start a running group for blind people.
Having said that, giving equal opportunities to everyone benefits the greater good.