“I was born and lived in Pakistan in my early childhood. When I was three my family found out I was deaf. My dad decided to go to the audiologist for hearing tests and hearing aids. He wanted an implant for me but they were too expensive and we couldn’t afford it at the time.

After a difficult admission process, I went to a deaf school where I learnt sign language. We used a different language to here; it was a mixture of American with the native Pakistani sign language. The standard of education was poor and it was difficult for me to understand and progress. My experience at school made me quiet and I lost all confidence in myself.

When I came to the UK, there was a chance to start afresh. I learnt British Sign Language. I no longer struggled in class, and I joined a group called DEX who really helped me. I felt involved and part of something, and I was able to gain my confidence back. I don’t think I had fully accepted my deafness before that.

It is difficult sometimes; the deaf world is very small. Personally, I don’t feel I need to restrict myself by only being around deaf people. If I want to be included in the hearing world then I must show that inclusion also. I’m thankful to the teachers, tutors and BSL interpreters who have helped me throughout my education. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

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