Atiyeh’s sudden darkness helped to shine a light on her true path in life

Atiyeh Shahsavari Fard’s story shows that sometimes it takes being thrown into complete darkness to guide us away from what we feel we should be doing in order to find the life path on which we belong; then we need to believe, believe, believe we CAN achieve, and Atiyeh is living proof of the power of this belief…

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Hello, I am Atiyeh Shahsavari Fard and I was born in 1996. I am an Iranian and I have always lived here but I have many experiences of living in different cities such as Rasht, Shiraz, Tehran and Karaj – because of my father’s job we have moved a lot. It was a very good opportunity for me to become a social child and to communicate with people easily, as I always had to find new friends in new places during those days.

I would really like to be a doctor. I was often dreaming about doing brain surgical operations. I was very good at my school courses, so everyone was certain that I would be able to study medicine, but as I reached the age of 13 suddenly everything changed. It all began with a simple headache one day when I was at school. I felt a very drastic headache so I asked my mom to take me back to home and she did –  as my parents observed I did not get better they took me to hospital to be examined by a specialist. They did some scans from my brain and said it was not a serious problem but that it would be better to be in hospital for next 24 hours. The next day, as I opened my eyes, I found everywhere completely dark. My parents called the doctor, and the early diagnosis from the medical team was MS and they claimed that I will gain my eyesight very soon again, but it never happened. We were all shocked and nobody knew what was happening, and my pain was growing every day. So my family decided to take me to another hospital, when the new examinations showed that I was suffering from high pressure of brain and the primary diagnosis was incorrect. They also added that previous medical team has lost the “golden period of time” to save my eyesight and my optic nerves have been destroyed under the pressure. It was a real calamity for me and my family, I was so confused at that time, I had no idea of how a blind person’s life could be.

But I decided to return to school, after just 2 months. I started to study in my previous school with my other friends, because I even didn’t know that there were special schools for blind people. I didn’t have any audio books, so my mother read all the books for me and I had to try to memorise them all. Despite all these problems I passed my exams by a grade. The only issue which was bothering to me was that I that I couldn’t study medicine anymore, and they told me that I must study theoretical sciences. USING Jaws I passed my ICDL courses of computer successfully and I received my international certificate of ICDL – according to this as I finished my high school I was accepted in university of Tehran, the best and greatest university of Iran. It was like a dream for me because even normal students were not able to enter to this university easily, so I decided to study political science.

During my years of bachelor study, I was always through the 3 top students, so I decided not to concentrate on just one aspect, I started music – I took some courses in piano and guitar. I also learnt swimming and chess. I completed my English in the first year of university and I took my TTC certificate from which I was allowed to teach English. So then I started to learn French and German too. At the same time I met a multi lingual professor that encouraged me to learn more languages as he saw I could learn so fast, so I added Spanish and Italian to my plan too as I finished my bachelor degree. I was chosen by best ranking for master studies as I was really interested in European culture. I chose regional studies of Europe, and now I am passing my second year of master and I am completely granted by the university because of my grades. I am also getting ready for my PHD and as I need a perfect CV for this I am going to translate a book about EU security policy in to Persian. I am working on two articles related to my field and I have started some new languages such as Russian Arabic and Hindi. Of course not very seriously yet but I have a plan to make my available languages 10 in next 5 years and now I have stopped my music courses because I am so busy with university affairs! Though I hope I will be able to continue music after my PHD entrance exam.

Even though sight loss was a real shock for me and changed my way of life, it showed me many new ways. I learned so many new things that I could never imagine. I believed myself after I did so many works that even my able-sighted friends were not able to do.  Of course, I must mention that my parents have played a very important role during all these years, they never let me feel I have something less than the others and supported me in all my hardships. Now I have many plans for my future, and I am trying to make myself completely qualified for them.

I would like to become a professor in my university and I also dream about working in the UN as I have concentrated on the peace topic – I am sure that I can do it. I never gave up during my worst times and I will never do. At last I really would like to communicate to people from different places to know more about their cultures and lifestyles.

I have been always around sighted people and I have worked and learnt beside sighted people – I do not have many visually impaired friends. So my next goal is to find some new friends with vision impairment to learn about their experiences and share my experiences with them. Getting to know Eye Inspire was a great opportunity for me to do so.

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