Mohammed Abbas Rashid is well known to people living with sight loss in Birmingham. He has volunteered for almost every sight loss organisation in the area and continues to love what he does.
Mohammed was born blind with Leber’s congenital amaurosis, this condition has also affected other members of his family including his brother, two of his nephews and his niece. Mohammed’s ultimate goal is to become an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) so he can support more people on their sight loss journey using his own experiences.
Currently, Mohammed volunteers as part of the Birmingham Sight Loss Council (BSLC) – a fairly new initiative of Thomas Pocklington Trust. His other volunteering roles include support to the ECLO service through local society Focus Birmingham and he is also a fundraiser, speaker and mentor for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Across his various roles Mohammed has been volunteering for a number of years, and some weeks he gives over 30 hours of his time.
When asked what his main motivation was for volunteering, Mohammed replied with: “I want to give back to my community and put a smile on someone’s face – that sense of achievement is something money can’t buy”. Mohammed received a national award for his volunteering last year for a campaign he ran to allow his Guide Dog into his local Mosque.
Regarding his role on the BSLC, Mohammed is keen to explore campaigns surrounding transport, accessible information and employment. He said “I want to change people’s perceptions about blind and partially sighted people. I want to champion the rights of people with sight loss and the Birmingham Sight Loss Council is a great and unique way to do this.”
He will be starting a full time job with HMRC in June as a Customer Service Consultant and feels that volunteering has helped to build his confidence and improve his employment prospects.
To find out how you can become a volunteer and help make a difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people, visit our Volunteer Opportunities page.