My family lives in Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan. My Father works as a barber (hair cutter). I was born with a hearing impairment and my family were very sad because there was no proper communication system with deaf people. I created a little sign language by myself but until I was six years old all the other children did not want to play with me, they beat me because I was not able to communicate with them when I tried to play with them. They pushed me to the side and I had no chance to play with them. I wanted to have friends so it was very difficult for me because the people laughed at me. They thought I was a disabled child and couldn’t do anything. My father did not know that I could go to school and can learn like any other child. He started to take me to the shop and I stayed there the whole day. It was very boring for me. My father wanted me to learn his profession.
One day some people from the Serve Afghanistan project came to the district where we live. They realised that I am deaf so one of them asked me by signs, “Do you want to go to school and learn?” This question was strange to me and also to my father because we had no information about Afghan Sign Language (AFSL) or that the deaf could go to school. These people talked with my father and tried to encourage him to agree for me to study sign language and to send me to school. At the beginning my father didn’t accept this because he did not believe that deaf children can go to school and are able to get an education. He wanted me to learn his profession. However, when the project staff discussed this with my father they explained to him that without sign language I will stay disabled all my life and wouldn’t develop. After a few more visits my father agreed to send me to the school. I went into a deaf class in the school with a well-trained Government teacher, who was working in the Inclusive Education program with Serve Afghanistan and Ministry of Education. I started learning the Afghan Sign Language and after two years I finished the pre-school programme.
Then I joined the 1st grade and continued my education. Now I am studying in grade 4 in an Inclusive classroom with other hearing students. There is one interpreter who is hired by SHIP project who comes to the class every day and interprets what the teacher says to us by Sign Language during the lesson time.
Serve Afghanistan project staff also trained my family and some of the community members in Afghan Sign Language (AFSL). Now I am very happy because I can communicate with my family and I also have found many friends in the school and can play with them. I also have friends in the community where the people love me. They are very kind to me.
I am grateful to Serve Afghanistan for all work that is done for people with hearing impairment in Afghanistan.
*Name has been changed