When Fereshteh sought asylum in the UK nine years ago she was in a very dark place.
She had been abused and marginalised because of her blindness and was depressed and lonely. “I was very anxious, very uncomfortable,” she says.
But she had not given up on her dreams. She was determined to find a new home where she would be free to choose how she wanted to live, to make friends and express her creativity.
She also had a strong desire to learn yoga but feared that this would be impossible. “I never thought that blind people could do yoga” she says, “so when I first heard about the Sense group I was so excited.”
Every Wednesday, Fereshteh comes together with a tutor from Sense and people with a range of disabilities. Yoga involves lots of touch and interaction, there is friendship and laughter between the group members – and Fereshteh’s confidence has grown.
“Learning yoga has helped me to control my anxiety,” she explains. “When I feel nervous on the bus or somewhere I just breathe and open and close my hands. The things I have learned, the exercises, have changed my life.”
Helping people shine
- Sense runs activities across the country – from have-a-go sports days to karate and indoor climbing – which help people to try new things, develop relationships and stay healthy.
- With the right adjustments and support, people with even the most challenging disabilities can take part in the most demanding – and exciting – activities!
- In order to open up activity sessions to as many people with sensory impairments as possible, we developed information resources and videos and provided training to 41 sports coaches and 49 Sense support workers.
- We successfully hosted an outdoor adventure holiday at the Calvert Trust on Exmoor where nine deafblind people were supported to enjoy a range of physically challenging activities – from sailing to rock climbing.
First published: Thursday 22 December 2016
Updated: Monday 13 February 2017