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Sign Language: My voice, my words and my sword

Me, Alison and Mother pose for her award

Girls from Buea School of the Deaf (BSD) tell their stories on how they have found empowerment through sign language.

This year, I awarded prizes to some four girls from Buea School of the Deaf. The awards were based on contestants’ ability to narrate a personal experience where they felt disempowered and how they managed to overcome the challenge[s] and gained empowerment.

Of all the essays submitted, they all shared that power of communication which they now have, that voice, passion and education empowerment as well as a motherly love which has forever been an inspiration, also stood out so strong in the essays.

Winners of the prizes were: Alison Naomi (winner 1st Prize); Angela Anyinkeng Abina (winner 2nd prize); Zipporah Ewenye (winner 3rd prize) and Mukoko Sandra Namondo (winner 4th prize).

For the purpose of this article, I have chosen to publish Alison Naomi’s story. In her own words, she tells her story for change; how she overcame the trauma of finding out that she lost the ability to hear and gained empowerment.

“I became deaf in 2006, I was in primary three.” This is how Alison introduces her essay: “The whole thing started with a fever and my mum took me to the hospital. We stayed there for several days, and returned. One day that was in the early morning I just realized that I couldn’t hear. When I tuned on the TV, yet couldn’t hear a thing. At first, I didn’t take it so seriously. I felt like it was a trick – though I saw people talking but I couldn’t hear them. That same day, I remember taking a walk on the street and yet, I couldn’t hear a noise. Once my mum realized that I couldn’t hear, she took me to the hospital. The doctor did some test on me and found out that I was deaf and couldn’t hear. When my mum shared the news with me, I was depressed, traumatized and stressed.

I wiped and wiped. My mum also joined me to wipe.

Each day, I will asked myself; “Who am I?” “Why am I so helpless?” and each time, I think of my situation I shade tears. I tried to accept my fate but couldn’t. I even struggled with myself to ignore my situation and to forget who I was; still, it wasn’t that easy.

In school, during break time, my friends will join me in crying – they too couldn’t believe I will never hear their voice. One day as I was crying, my teacher called me – she tried to advise me, not to worry so much. She made me understand that I am not the only deaf person on this planet. That I can still be whatever I want to be – regardless of my hearing impairment. She told me to be brave. I kept her advice though I still felt like isolating myself from all of the hearing people. I wanted to be somewhere lonely. I even asked my peers if there knew of any lonely world where I can go there – but none could give me a satisfactory answer.

Time passed and things changed. I started appreciating myself. Liking who I am. And whenever, my mum would burst into tears, I would tell her not to worry. That I am fine and I feel able to do anything, a human being can do. For instance, I made her to understand that I could lip-read and communicate with hearing people, I can dance, I can even sing like any other person – (and by the way, I enjoy dancing. I can dance all day). I made my mum understand that I am FINE! So crying wouldn’t help – I recollected my teacher’s advice to my mum: Be Brave and be proud! When I told my mum these-she was so impressed at me. She smiled so loud and hugged me. She even promised me that she won’t cry anymore. But for sure, I know no word can stop a mother’s tear, no word can express a mother’s pain nor heal a mother’s broken heart”

All that time, I was still in the normal hearing school – it wasn’t easy to get myself fully integrated but I tried to study and understand what our teachers were teaching. One day, a teacher advised my mum to take me to one deaf school, and that was Buea School for the Deaf (BSD) and that there; they will teach me how to communicate in sign language.

The moment, I entered the campus of BSD; I noticed that everybody was a deaf. I couldn’t believe that I was seeing many people other than myself, deaf. I was happy to see them all – boys and girls of my age – from that moment; I knew that was a home for me. I knew I had found my sisters and brothers who can understand my pain and share with me. I could also tell that my future was secure and safe. Now, I can follow my dreams.

While at BSD, I was taught how to communicate with sign language. I was also taught the general education which every hearing child is been taught. And in addition, I was taught my own first language – sign language. Years after, I wrote my First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) and I passed. Now I am in form four, next year, I will be writing my O’L GCE. And I pray that very soon, there should be a college, university for the deaf in Cameroon or some sort of scholarship programs for us to advance our education.”

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Alison and peers on stage [dancing ] during the graduation ceremony
Myself and all four winners

Comments

Precious M's picture

Great work sister!

This is just so inspiring. There is always hope no matter the situation one gets into. Thanks for sharing!

Precious

My pen speaks

zoneziwoh's picture

Re: Great

Siz, many thanks. It's always a pleasure to support a sister finds her voice. Thanks for reading.
we keep in touch

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

olutosin's picture

I can see you there...

Thanks for being the voice...its your dream, Live It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

zoneziwoh's picture

Yeah..standing with our lil siz

Always thankful Siz.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Sutanuka Banerjee's picture

no words

so powerful.... it teaches that we only need to keep our mind open.... that's where the sound of life lies....

I live in my convoluted mind....

zoneziwoh's picture

Definietly siz

Truely powerful. Alison is great and will be a great leader in future.Her enthusiasm and courage is something I admit

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

mrbeckbeck's picture

Wonderful!

Such a wonderful, positive story. Thank you for bringing her words to the world here. I love how Alison has found her passion for learning and community. Her smile is contagious!

Great work, as always Zoneziwoh!

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Manager

zoneziwoh's picture

Re:Wonderful

Thanks Scott, always love reading your feedback. Very encouraging and empowering. I read Alison's story in teary eyes and couldn't help to applaud her courage, confidence and determination. She is one real young girl who needs to be encouraged and she is definitely..with comments and feedback like yours, I see her smiling and believing in her dream more

Thank you Scott

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

JaniceW's picture

So heartwarming

I love that you chose to speak out for a beautiful young woman who can no longer hear her own voice. You remind us that the power of one's voice is not in what we hear but in what is being said, no matter how the message is delivered. Thanks for always bringing us such inspiring stories of courage, heart and spirit.

zoneziwoh's picture

Thank you

I couldnt help knowing we have such great motivational sisters and yet their stories are barely heard on the frontline or captured on text.
Just like you said, "the power of one's voice is not what we hear but in what is being said" That so powerful! Thank you!

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Mukut's picture

Change maker!

Zoneziwoh,

Your commitment and work always inspires me. You are such a positive change maker. Beautiful story of Alison.

I always look forward to hear your stories, because they are full of hope, power and change.

Shine on my dearest sis !

Love,

Mukut Ray

zoneziwoh's picture

Very TRUE: Alison is

Thank you siz. reading your comments inspires me to continally search for more motivational stories. Thanks

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Greengirl's picture

Moving Post

I am so happy that Naomi rediscovered herself and is already shining brightly. This is a very touching and inpspiring post; and thank you so much for sharing and reminding us that there's always light at the end of a tunnel.

Greetings,
Greengirl

zoneziwoh's picture

Re: Moving post

Thanks you GreenGirl (GG). Noami is one rare figure. She a awesome! I only pray our country finds the need to support by creating integrated etablishments - colleges..etc or even making sign language compulsory in government schools

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Susan K.A.'s picture

This is so inspiring, Thank you!

I send you a million thanks for posting this. What a leader Alison is, a shining example of courage and resilience. She has much to teach us all about the triumph of the human spirit and the unshakable faith in life and all that is good that lies at our core! I celebrate her and I thank you for sharing her essay with us!

Much love,

Susan

______________________________________________________________________________

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."
-Hafiz

zoneziwoh's picture

always a pleasure

Absolutely, she is. Alison's efforts should be celebrated! Thanks

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Zoneziwoh- Apologies for this late reply...I thought I had already posted, but it didn't go through. Thank you for posting this beautiful story from Alison! Stories about communication always catch my eye, as I am a speech and language therapist by trade. I have spent years helping children find their voice, in whatever form that takes. It is always a miracle, and opens up worlds for them and their families. Finding their voice brings hope to a deperate situation.

Alison brings many powerful points to light in this story. She shows amazing spirit in that she was able to overcome the hopelessnes and even turn around to be the one encouraging her own mother! I am so thankful that schools for the deaf exist, and that she was able to enter one. Knowing you're not alone is a great comfort and motivator. It is inspiring, and brings me joy that Alison is now able to communicate through sign, and that she is so motivated to continue in this positive direction to bring about change.

Thank you for sharing this story. It is the heart of World Pulse!

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

Dear Michelle, thank you so much for taking the time to Re-post after realizing it didnt post.

I am speechless and short f words to say, you just said it all.

Whenever I come across a story just like that of Alison, I feel empowered and inspired. I learn on how to always be steadfast, proud and happy even when all is all well. I also learn on how to be brave and committed in my dreams even if I see no glimpse - no bright future.

I also encouraged by the comments from our sisters and brothers. Thank you!

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

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