2022 Blind Australian of the Year finalist profile: Arkan Yousef

Arkan Yousef was a teacher in Iraq for 19 years before he started losing his sight. Fearing life as a blind man in his hostile home country, he fled to Greece and then Australia in 2006.

The losing of his sight was the biggest hardship to encounter but he never lost his passion for teaching; enthusiasm and positive outlook in life to achieve his goals by helping others through his Volunteer work at Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre.

To many a few; Arkan’s voluntary work that contributed to the community include:

Volunteer in teaching mathematics in Arabic, English, and Chaldean languages at Western Sydney MRC to assist students with their homework.

Initiated Homework Program for several local high schools in Western Sydney Volunteer teaching the basics of computer for blind people at vision Australia, to teach computer skills using adaptive technology software with talking program NVDA.

Provide companionship support to people in nursing homes by connecting with residents who have limited or no English in Arabic and Chaldean languages through the Community Visitors Scheme program.

As a result of his dedication to community service; he has been recognised with numerous awards of appreciation and service, including a finalist in the Pride of Australia Award 2013.

His recent achievement is getting two Masters degrees in mathematics to be completed this year. Arkan is resilient and has a passion to:

  1. To Challenge himself and others by pushing boundaries in order to reach his and others’ full potential despite his disability. He showcases his support by empowering others through his teaching voluntary work for students to strive for the best and not give up when facing challenges.
  2. To inspire and be an inspiration to others. Arkan has the ability to work and support people in his community to take on opportunities made available in this country of Australia.
  3. To ignite trust. Arkan is a self-believer and has the strength and ability to build others up so they can be empowered to overcome any obstacles they face in life. He encourages his students and community to have confidence and trust in themselves to achieve anything they wish for in life. With him teaching mathematics he built trust with students and people in the community by walking side by side and showing them how to face life challenges, face any obstacles to build up their confidence.

He has proven that he’s unstoppable in achieving anything in life regardless of his disability. He is determined to help others and wouldn’t allow his blindness to stop him from doing what he loves. He has full trust in himself and encourages his students and the people he helps to build trust within themselves.

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