CAIRO – 2 June 2022:Helen Keller was an American writer, lecturer and activist, who went through a number of ordeals but never gave up.
She was able to write her name in letters of gold, and become one of the most influential personalities in the world.
Keller was born on June 27, 1880. She suffered from a disease at 19 months old that caused her to completely lose her hearing and sight. Her father owned a farm and was involved in the publishing industry. Within 10 years, her father owned the North Alabamian newspaper, and the family's conditions became prosperous but deteriorated after the outbreak of the civil war. Because of the civil war, Keller’s family suffered great damage.
When she reached the age of 7, her parents decided to enroll her in a school for the blind and assign her a special teacher, called Anne Sullivan. Sullivan accompanied Keller until her death, and made tremendous progress with her in her ability to communicate with others and express herself by touch and speech.
Keller was able to achieve great success in her lessons, excelling in her education until she enrolled in university amid the encouragement of many after her success story spread. She was accompanied by her teacher, Sullivan, who used to sit next to her to interpret the lectures and texts.
During her university years, she learned French, German, Greek and Latin. She graduated from university at the age of 24 with honors, and completed her postgraduate studies until she obtained her Ph.D.
Throughout her literary career, Keller published 18 books, including “The Story of My Life”, “The World I Live In”, “My Religion”, “Light in My Darkness”, among others. Her works have also been translated into 50 languages.
Moreover, Keller had a history of political work, as she joined the Socialist Party in 1905 and later became a prominent activist and advocated a lot for the rights of individuals with special needs. She met many presidents of the United States of America and traveled with her teacher Sullivan to many western and eastern countries to advocate for the help of the blind.
She passionately longed to visit Egypt in particular and meet with the Dean of Arabic literature, Taha Hussein. Like her, Hussein conquered darkness, challenged disability, called for free education, achieved a global literary status and occupied the position of Minister of Education and the Deanship of Arabic Literature thanks to his knowledge.
When she met Hussein, she extended her fingers to his face and began to feel his features, until his features were etched in her imagination.
Keller passed away on June 1, 1968 at the age of 88 years.