The Arab Episcopal School was founded in September 2003 by Rev. Samir Esaid and Mrs. Sabah Zurikat through the Anglican Church in the Middle East. It started as an integrative kindergarten to reach the blind and visually impaired children of northern Jordan who did not have any options for education except to travel to Amman, an hour drive from Irbid. Rev. Samir and Mrs. Sabah saw the difficulty in sending such young children away from their homes for weeks in order to gain an education. Many of these children had spent their lives out of the public eye due to a cultural emphasis on shame and honor: if a family member has a disability their time spent in public will often be restricted for fear that their family name will be ruined, therefore putting other siblings at risk of not getting married. Through the ministry and work here at AES, these children are now given an opportunity to go to school and learn to read and write, as well as interact in a natural and safe environment alongside their sighted peers.
When we first opened the school in 2003, our student body consisted of only a kindergarten class, which included one blind and one low-vision student. By the end of that school year, our student population had grown to include six blind and four low-vision students. The start of the 2005 school year marked the beginning of our elementary school (beginning with 1st grade). Today AES is the only school of its kind in Jordan that works to integrate sighted, low-vision, and blind students. Currently, we education 17 blind kids, 17 low-vision students, 141 sighted students.