Shaking and stroking spare parts of a car engine, Mustafa Aziz quickly figures out what needs to be done as he repairs the car one of his customers entrusted to him.
“Some people are surprised and impressed. Others don’t believe it until they see it, and some are still incredulous,” the 35 year-old Iraqi, visually impaired from birth, told Reuters at his home in Baghdad, where he opened a garage.
His father, a car mechanic himself, first transmitted his passion to his son when Aziz was a child. Year after year, Aziz’s skills improved and today, he has made himself a reputation in the neighborhood.
The challenges people without sight face in Iraq are numerous, Aziz said, adding that the lack of adequate infrastructure initially made it hard for him to pursue his studies.
He says it is his success as a car mechanic that gave him the self-confidence to dream big and today, he holds a diploma in music, plays in a band and teaches Islamic studies to people with disabilities.
Repairing cars also helped him to meet people and make friends from various backgrounds, integrating him in social circles he had no access to before.
His objective is not only to provide an income to his family and a safety net for his two children. In the long term, he wants to improve the condition of people with disabilities in Iraq and encourage to have ambitions of their own.