One of the most stigmatized groups in Pakistan is the deaf community. Slowly, however, the deaf community’s struggles to make a significant impact on society are starting to bear fruit. One such deaf individual who is shattering stereotypes and proving himself just as capable as anyone else is Hassan Ahmad, Pakistan’s first ever deaf vlogger. Team ProperGaanda reached out to Hassan to better understand his motivations and his hopes for the deaf community in Pakistan.
My name is Hassan and I am deaf by birth. I come from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. I work as a UI/UX designer working in an IT company. I also serve as a representative of the deaf community of Pakistan by acting as a Brand Ambassador for DeafTawk. DeafTawk is an organization which is working to combat the stigma against deaf people by providing sign language interpretation with a single click using a digital application. Over the past one year I have been Vlogging on everything from food reviews to any fun everyday thing I come across.
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I used to see food reviews of bloggers on several social media platforms in different, inaccessible formats. As a deaf person, I always felt a massive communication gap, since we understand and communicate in sign language. Wishing to be a Vlogger too, I started Vlogging and used my platform to share such reviews so that my fellow members of the deaf community can also enjoy Vlogs in the same way everybody else can.
I am reasonably optimistic because of growing awareness regarding the norms and culture of the deaf community of Pakistan. God willing, more and more opportunities will be available for deaf people in the future, especially with the work of organizations like DeafTawk. I am hopeful that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. But then again it all depends on both sides’ efforts. I and other members of the deaf community are trying to bring equality but we want everybody else to stand by us and help us.
The biggest thing the average Pakistani can do is accepting people with special needs and making them feel more included in mainstream society. This, I think, is the key in achieving equality.
My message to the deaf community of Pakistan would be that they should work hard, do more, make their disability their biggest strength and break the stereotypes about and stigmas against us.
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