A few weeks back we held the Norfolk Summer Deaf Festival (NSDF) for the second year running at The Forum in Norwich. After being a guest speaker at the first one last year, I was so keen to get involved first hand with the festival so I was lucky to be invited to be part of the committee to help organise this fantastic day.
It was a festival to bring together the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafblind communities with the hearing community to celebrate deaf Culture, an opportunity for others to learn about deafness and to recognise the talents of deaf individuals.
Deafness is an invisible disability and even today there’s a lack of deaf awareness and understanding in our society. Sadly there are still discrimination stories lurking in the news and campaigns led by deaf people to fight for their rights.
Two people in particular who I’ve met this year got in touch with me as they were struggling to come to terms with their hearing loss, didn’t know any deaf people and they were feeling isolated and finding it difficult to cope in the Hearing World.
I invited them along to the NSDF and told them hands on heart, that when they’re there, they will feel at home, like they’ve found somewhere they belong along with others whom we all share deafness in common.
One of my goals as Deafie Blogger is to try and reach out to those with hearing loss who are isolated and haven’t yet discovered the deaf community and to introduce them to deaf events and social gatherings to combat their withdrawal.
That’s why it’s important we continue running and attending events like the NSDF, not only to bring people together, but to see the reward of relief and happiness on their faces when they find solutions to help make life easier, learn new things and to make new friends. Fundamentally, like my motto, to show that ‘Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of, given the right support, and nothing should stand in the way of reaching their goals.’
The committee and I are eagerly planning next year’s festival already and will also be holding fundraising events throughout the year – follow their Facebook and Instagram for updates: @norfolkdeaffestival – everyone’s welcome!
If you ever see a deaf event, why not go along and explore… you’re bound to learn something new, meet inspiring new people and who knows what future opportunities it may bring…