65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 19

65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 19
habilitation Program, determining aid eligibility of handicapped children and adult polio victims. 1 also observed home visits made by my super- visor and attended staff conferences of social workers, doctors, nurses and psychiatrists. It was a very worthwhile experience, I can assure you. Q. Are you working in that field now? A. No, I am currently employed by the Veter- ans Administration as a dictaphone operator. For many reasons I was unable to complete my M.A. in Sociology. I abandoned social work be- cause I felt my chances of obtaining a position were slim, and the necessity of having readers assist me in filling out the necessary forms in my fieldwork frustrated me. I think I could deal more directly with individuals if I went into teaching. Perhaps I could be persuaded to return to the field of sociology-social work if the op- portunity presented itself. Q. Are there many job opportunities for the blind in the United States? A. Not so many as you might think. My sister works for the NYC Civil Service and a good many blind people are employed by the city, state and federal governments. The public is not well educated about the capabilities of the blind per- son. We have to show them we are capable of doing the work we say we can do, and many are not willing to give us this opportunity. I have many friends with college degrees who cannot find jobs in their specialized fields because they cannot crack the prejudice which exists about hiring a blind person. Some do, but many of them were not always blind, or had contacts in a particular field. Many blind people are vending stand operators, own and operate newspaper stands, and of course work in sheltered work- shops. Many teach the blind in their own special- ized schools, such as the one I attended. A few, but not many, are public school teachers. Sadly, all an employer needs is one bad experience and he will never hire another blind person, even if he is capable. To the sighted, we are all alike. Q. You visited Iceland in the summer of 1966. What impressions did you have of it? A. I was very favorably impressed. I found few differences from the U.S. except the language. People are the same everywhere. I found Ice- landers warm and friendly. The standard of liv- o ing seems very high, and they seem to take a great deal of pride in their homes and families. The people are willing to help you in any way and are sincere, unlike Americans who do some- thing for you, wondering, “What’s in it for me?” They are sensitive, proud people as you indicated in your book, but too many Americans forget how sensitive and proud we are. We can criticize ourselves, but far be it for someone else to critic- ize us! The country has accomplished a great deal since it became independent; it has much to be proud of. Q. What did you know about Iceland before you came here? A. Virtually nothing except what Leifur told me and what I read in your book, Ripples from Iceland, which is available in Braille. And just before going to Iceland, a very good article ap- peared in Reader’s Digest which enlightened me a great deal. I had no preconceived ideas of Ice- land as I never gave it much thought. I knew it was a Scandinavian country and that they were quite highly developed. After meeting Leifur — he was one of my pupils in the NY Institute for the Blind — I found out more about the country and looked forward to visiting it. And I must admit that I was not surprised at what I saw. He prepared me very well, for the most part. Q. When do you expect to reside in Iceland? A. Around Christmas of this year, if all goes well. Q. Do you hope to find a job in sociology? A. I will take whatever position offers the most security. While Leifur is getting established I should like a good steady income. Whether I continue in government service or work for Ice- land depends largely on which allows me to carry on my role as a wife. Q. Do you hope to raise a family eventually? A. We both hope to have and want children.. I have quite a number of friends who are blind and have raised children. Naturally, there are problems. There may be times when we need someone to help with the children, but what sighted woman doesn’t need someone to baby-sit at one time or another? We will be calling on sighted people for aid even without children any- way. As with anything else, if the right attitude Continued on page 33. IT 65



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