From Baghdad to the bar: a blind refugee's journey
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
Georgina Rannard and Hannah Gelbart from BBC News share Allan’s amazing story.
As Aphra watched her son Allan graduate from Cambridge University last month, she thought back to the moment he was born.
"I'm so sorry your baby is blind," a neighbour in Baghdad had said.
Aphra became the talk of the town because of the taboo associated with her son's condition.
It was Iraq in 1995 - Saddam Hussein was president, the Gulf War had ended only three years earlier and citizens were suffering under sanctions placed on the country. As a blind child, Allan Hennessy's prospects were poor.
Today, walking around his college in Cambridge, Allan is confident and articulate: "I have so many accents now," he says. "If someone from Iraq calls, I answer in Arabic. At Cambridge I have a posh, round-vowelled voice. Then I speak to a mate from the estate - 'Oh my days, all right bruv?'”
Meet Allan in BBC's video below:
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