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Muna is a PhD candidate in the School of Education at Deakin. Her research involves comparative case studies of disability services at three universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and will include policy recommendations for changes to the higher education sector. She is a strong advocate for the vision impaired and has previously worked for the UAE Ministry of Education as the sole support person for 1500 vision impaired tertiary students. She has been a volunteer Braille trainer in the UAE for 11 years.
Muna is vision impaired. She was born in the UAE in 1976 with congenital glaucoma and into a family with a history of vision impairment. Of her eleven siblings, one brother and one sister are blind. Muna now has 40% vision in one eye. She and a school friend were the first local women with vision impairment to attend university in the UAE. Course options were limited.
Muna reports that the UAE is a long way behind many Western countries on disability services and rights and that being a woman with disability is particularly difficult in many Gulf countries where arranged marriages are common.
Since commencing at Deakin in 2009, Muna has had ongoing problems with her eyes and several operations. She taught herself English Braille and reads documents converted into Braille and in large print. Muna is registered with the Disability Resource Centre. She shared her experiences at Deakin with Academic Board and will also reflect on them in her thesis.