Inner Vision: Music education for the visually impaired and the blind in Addis Abeba

Through the project Inner Vision we want to create changes that lead to new opportunities and possibilities! The  project is initiated by Selam with the support of Culture Foundation of the Swedish Postcode Lottery.

Losing your vision should never have to mean losing your independence or holding you back from doing the things you love to do. There are very few opportunities for blind and visually impaired people in Ethiopia to develop their talent in ways that can lead to specific jobs. Today the blind and visually impaired students are not admitted to higher education for musicians in Ethiopia, as schools do not feel adequately equipped to accommodate students with special needs.

The Inner Vision project is being carried out by Selam and partners in a bid to raise the level of participation of the blind in Ethiopia’s music industry. The ethos of Inner Vision is simple: we believe that with proper encouragement, guidance, and resources, every person has the ability to develop his or her full potential and to flourish. The project aims to remove barriers to music education for the visually impaired and the blind, and to raise the level of understanding and willingness in society to carry out the necessary investments to allow visually impaired and blind youth to pursue a career in music.

The Inner Vision Project has three core components:

Inner Vision Students

Music education

The project includes a vocational music education through partnership with Wusate Berhan Abera Music Training Centre, 17 (10 women and 7 men) visually impaired and blind students are provided with scholarship in a bid towards addressing the shortfall of access to music education in public schools for this group. In addition the students are provided with transport allowances, lunch and refreshments at the training centre.The students are also provided with supplementary vocational education courses that include entrepreneurship alongside music courses. Capacity-building and the development of curricula and teaching methods, training for staff and new custom educational materials for the blind and visually impaired is also an important part of the project. The longterm goal is to find fundings for a three year diploma education.


Working towards new policies

Over the last several decades, organizations of persons with disabilities have voiced their grievances and concerns against the exclusionary attitudes and practices of institutions for higher education towards visually impaired and blind students. An important part of the Inner Vision project is to lobby for the right to inclusive education for the visually impaired and the blind. This is done in partnership with NOVIB (Network of Organizations for the Visually Impaired and the Blind) through studies and research, public workshops and conferences, meetings and presentations with decision makers to highlight the situation.

Talent Development and Album production

In this part of the project talented blind youths are scouted in selected cities in Ethiopa, following a series of training and mentorship programs an album with selected particpants will be produced, in a bid to let them break into Ethiopia’s music scene and to create role models for other aspiring artists. The participants come from a pool of musically talented youth but have not been able to break into the industry for various reasons. Moreover music can be a means to create job opportunities for talented and marginalized youths who are often living in deplorable condition.


Photos and film by: Kalle Jansson, Pråmfilm



This project is connected with the following locations

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