WORKMotivational lecturer, athlete training full time for international Jujitzu competitions
PARTNERRiga – female yellow Labrador

Mariyem is a bright and energetic 19-year-old who is currently training for the Jujitsu European Championships where she will be the only blind competitor.

She trains for two hours a day, six days a week, as well as finding her feet in her first year at university. And she is able to accomplish all of this thanks to her guide dog Riga.

Mariyem has come a long way since she lost the sight in her second eye aged only 10, having been born with retinal detachment in her other eye. Initially she was in denial, but she gradually came to realise that she needed to live her life to the full and take responsibility not just for herself but for another being too.

And taking care of Riga has helped her to mature and grow as an independent young woman. 

In Mariyem’s own words “Riga is my big love. I think we’re well matched – she is perfect. I’m never alone and I’m so happy. Riga is a calm dog and she calms me as well. She is my support.”

Riga is my big love. I think we’re well matched – she is perfect.

A full guide dog partnership costs the Israel Guide Dog Centre £40,000 and our clients nothing, as we give them this service free of charge. To help us provide more trained guide dogs for people like Mariyem please donate today.

Donate now

To learn more about what you can do, you can give us a call on
020 8090 3455 or you can email us at