Name: Empowerment Through Integration
Field: Education, Blind Youth Empowerment
Geographic Scope: Developing nations – camps already established in Lebanon and Nicaragua
Mission: To empower blind youth with the necessary life skills and emotional support so they are authors of their own futures and change makers of their societies.
Empowerment Through Integration (ETI) propels disadvantaged blind youths to explore and achieve their career goals. ETI began in 2009 as a one-month summer camp for 39 sighted children and visually impaired children in Tripoli, Lebanon. The camp ran in an effort to combat the social stigma against blindness and successfully showed both the campers and their community that visual impairments did not obstruct learning, playing or forming friendships. However, the camp also showed Minkara, ETI’s founder, the extreme lack of support blind youths received in their community, schools and family. ETI became a nonprofit in 2011 to provide such support via three sequential programs where blind youths network with other blind and sighted youths, learn life and computer skills, and gain opportunities to explore career choices. Camp Rafiqi, the first of the three programs, is currently the only running program. ETI is looking to run all three programs within a few years in Lebanon. Eventually, we hope to offer these programs in many nations and further our commitment to improve society by changing one life at a time.