Hasun is 25 years old and was born in Birmingham – in his words the “most amazing city in the UK”. Hasun is one of three siblings; he has a younger sister and an identical brother and they both have Oculocutaneous Albinism with nystagmus, a condition they’ve had since birth, which affects the skin and causes sight loss.
When asking Hasun about his educational journey he says “I’m educated to an A-level standard, however, I’m not an academic person and prefer to learn on the job”. Hasun has worked in varied third sector roles for over five years, but his real passion is “helping the most vulnerable people in our society.” He currently works as the Volunteer Manager for the charity, Volunteering Matters for the Midlands, Wales and South West.
During his time within the education system, Hasun faced challenges, some of which continued throughout his transition into employment- but what he struggled with the most was facing rejection. “I was unsure whether the rejection was because of the lack of work experience or whether it was because of my disability. At times people would mention the disability. I had one rejection say ‘as we are not ready to take on someone in a wheelchair, we’re not ready to take on someone with sight loss’ so that was a struggle.”
Despite these challenges, Hasun has remained optimistic and is determined to share his experiences to help vulnerable people in society meet their potential in both education and employment. Hasun talks passionately about BrumEye, a young leader’s programme run by Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which provides a safe space for those who have experience of vision impairment to come together. Through this programme, Hasun went on to meet Rachel Hewett from the VICTAR at the University of Birmingham.
Subsequently, Hasun became involved in a group of young people who volunteered to work with Rachel to create workshop resources to support young people with vision impairment as they transition from education to employment by providing them the opportunity to share their experiences with likeminded people. “It’s given us a safe space to have discussions” Hasun comments.
“What has always worried me about sharing my disability is that unfortunately you feel things slow down around you. If you say, ‘hang on a minute, I’ve got a vision impairment’ people automatically assume that, because you’ve got that sensory impairment, you’re also going to have something wrong with the way that you think or some sort of cognitive impairment, so people tend to slow down and baby talk you. But actually, being in a room full of people with sight loss, it was absolutely amazing. You felt like it was a safe space, you could open up, and you could share experiences and again learn from each other.”
Hasun stresses the importance of learning from the experiences that other people have had, particularly for future generations to ensure that they don’t face the same difficulties as he did. To people with vision impairments, Hasun says to never give up. Being told that he would never be able to play sports, only to then go on to play blind cricket showed Hasun that it’s important to have the drive to succeed and turn the adversity you may face into a positive.
To end Hasun tell us “you know yourself better than anyone else does and you know what your limits are, so just go for it- the stars are our limits and what is stopping us from reaching them and getting there.”