‘I will reach for the stars that I cannot see’

A new country. A new language. A new obstacle without the sense of sight.

This is the life of 21-year-old Khodr Farhat, who was born visually impaired. At the age of 16, Farhat and his family moved to Dearborn from Lebanon, with the hopes of a better education and advanced technology for the blind.

Farhat volunteers around Oakland and Wayne counties. His work encompasses public speaking about his every day obstacles.

“My challenge of being visually impaired goes day by day, second by second,” Farhat said. “You have to be patient, you have to shape your attitude and you have to prove yourself.”

Living in a world with no images, Farhat entered this country with the willingness to be independent and to create his own vision.

Because of his mindset, Farhat began learning a new country and a new view on life, starting at Lincoln Park High School (LPHS). LPHS holds a program for visually impaired students—a program that taught Farhat usable technology and ways to succeed independently.

“High school was great. A lot of people thought I would not be able to succeed,” Farhat said. “I never judged something, I never underestimated anyone. I just went to school, and I was very successful.”

Farhat took LPHS’s valuable knowledge and put it to work. Though entering high school with a limited English vocabulary and no sight, he graduated high school on time with a 4.0, which he considers one of his greatest achievements.

Though surrounded by supportive teachers and family members, Farhat taught himself to be as independent as possible.

“I came from somewhere where I had to figure everything out on my own,” Farhat said. “If I had a problem, I found the solution myself.”

He lives on the belief that being visually impaired is a special challenge, not a special need. After high school, college was his next challenge to conquer.

Farhat is currently enrolled at Henry Ford College, where he is earning a major in special education. In a year and a half, he plans to enroll at Eastern Michigan University to work for his PhD in special education.

As a special education teacher, Farhat plans to reach the minds of the visually impaired; a position which he took on for himself at a young age.

“People with special challenges are more than able to succeed,” he said. “Our society just needs to give us a chance.”

Everyday obstacles in college are fiercely taken on by Farhat. From transportation to taking notes in class, he constantly gathers his experiences and hardships.

With his growing education, Farhat focuses on volunteer work and public speaking. He has volunteered at organizations such as the Detroit Medical Center, the Westland Library and Lincoln Park Public Schools.

“I started giving speeches and people loved it. I wasn’t only speaking to the audience, I was proving,” Farhat said.

Farhat volunteers and speaks with the objective to teach others how to independently face life’s obstacles. As a visually impaired, newer member to the country, he strives to put confidence in the minds of those who face special challenges.

“You have to motivate others. you can’t always tap them on the shoulder and console them,” Farhat said. “If you are disabled and not doing anything about it, you’re wasting your resources.”

A new country, a new language and new lifestyle without sight. Farhat conquered innumerable hard-to-face obstacles over the last six years, but never lost his confidence and optimistic mindset.

“I will reach the stars that I cannot see,” Farhat said. “For me, I can reach something higher than where I’m standing, and I can do it without my vision.”

For more information email Farhat at [email protected].