Suleiman is a social worker at a men’s homeless center. He was introduced to Lighthouse Guild decades ago as a teenager. A native of Tanzania, East Africa, he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at age 14, which made him so depressed he rarely left home. His family arranged for him to come to the U.S. and, ultimately, Lighthouse Guild, where one of his older sisters had received treatment years before. At Lighthouse Guild, Suleiman received mobility training that helped him navigate the city and the transportation system. Academic services taught him English, Braille, and helped him achieve his GED. This, he said, “was a game-changer” as it began an educational journey that led to a master’s degree in social work and his current job. When asked about his Lighthouse Guild instructors, Suleiman said: “They gave me all the tools I needed to be independent.” Suleiman’s journey continues. Recently, he decided to learn how to make the most of using an iPad and an iPhone. Once again, he is back at Lighthouse Guild for guidance, this time from an accessible technology specialist. “I feel like I am home again.”

They gave me all the tools I needed to be independent.

Suleiman, client
Suleiman Rifai, Client

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Lighthouse Guild is collecting stories about how eye health programs benefit you and your family. These personal stories are invaluable in showing local leaders how this issue impacts real people. Share your story and help ensure our future health care system reflects the needs of our communities.