Rabat – 43-year-old Belgian-based Moroccan, Nasrallah, has overcome the considerable obstacles of illiteracy and hearing and speech impairment to become a fashion designer for Brussels firefighters.
In an interview with Belgian media outlet, La Dernière Heure, Nasrallah recounted his arduous journey, revealing the steely determination which enabled him to traverse all of hurdles life has placed in his path to realize his potential.
As a youngster and throughout his teenage years, the Marrakech native was never afforded an opportunity to study. At a certain point his mother “did not enroll him in school due to her fear that his classmates would mock and laugh at him. She was afraid it would not work out,” he said.
Nasrallah continued to relate his story, saying that his passion for sewing started when he was a child. “I love sewing! When I was young, I was staying [at home] with my mother who is a tailor. She taught me everything. We used to make curtains in 15 minutes,” he revealed.
In spite of the fact that he was never able to secure a job in Morocco, Nasrallah kept the faith. In 2007, when he was 34-years-old, he moved to Belgium to pursue his designing dream.
Nasrallah’s illiteracy, however, meant that migration to Belgium was going to be a life-challenging event. His hearing and speech impairments brought with them added challenges for communication. You see, sign language in Belgium turned out to be different from the system he’d learned in Morocco, making the adjustment to his new home somewhat “complicated.”
Nasrallah found he could benefit from motivational courses offered by several associations in Belgium for people with special needs, including “Alpha-Signes;” which assisted him in learning the Belgium system of language signs, and DiversiCom ASBL, which facilitates the process of employment for people with disabilities.
In 2009, Nasrallah’s personal life was also looking up when married love, Aziza, who is deaf and visually-impaired.
After ten years living and working in Belgium, Nasrallah officially earned a place on the sewing team for Belgian firefighters in Brussels last August, the only male among six female colleagues.
“He is adorable and works very well!” enthused Marie-Lin, Nassrallah’s 55-year-old colleague.