Sounds of Hope and Light

In Egypt being a blind woman without resources has a bleak future outside a family environment, and a negligible chance to make a living other than by begging. Al Nour Wal Amal is a private institution that welcomes women and girls who are blind or visually impaired. In this shelter, they receive a free education and are taught to fend for themselves. The pride of the institution is a symphony orchestra founded in 1961. It now has sufficient proficiency to put on concerts around the world.

The orchestra has developed a special technique that allows forty blind musicians to play without having to read the score nor follow the conductor's baton.
The musicians first read the music in Braille and then memorize each selection in rehearsals. Their musical repertoire includes Egyptian and other Middle Eastern music as well as classics by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.
"Memorizing all this music is difficult but also rewarding. Our success shows that women, especially those with disabilities, can achieve their goals," says Shaimaa Yehya, the Egyptian violinist of the orchestra.
This reportage was made in their headquarters in Cairo and during their recent tour to Vienna, Prague, France and Malta.