Sesethu with Neeta
Sesethu, South Africa

Sesethu represents differently abled children. She was born deaf and stands up for vulnerable children’s right to be treated with respect and equality.

Sesethu, 14, grew up in the township of Khayelitsha outside Cape Town. There’s a lot of poverty, violence and crime here, and Sesethu, who is deaf, must always be careful.

– I was born deaf in a village in the countryside, but when I was six we moved here to Khayelitsha because my parents needed to find work.
   “One day when we were sitting watching a football match on TV in our little house, a group of drunken men started arguing outside on the street. It ended with my dad getting shot and killed. When I was nine, my mum became ill and died.
   Since then I’ve been living with my grandma. We have a basic little house. There’s no bathroom or anything, but it’s better than many houses here in Khayelitsha.”

Constantly bullied

– “I was bullied throughout my childhood by hearing children. They don’t respect the fact that I speak using sign language; they just make faces and mean signs. I’m deaf, but I’m not stupid or ashamed of being deaf! I’m proud of it! I hope that things will get better for us deaf children in the future, so we can socialise and communicate with hearing children. Then they’ll be able to understand us too.”

Dangerous to take a taxi

“I spend almost all my time at school or at home. It’s not safe in my area, particularly not for us deaf girls who can’t call for help.
   “The school bus picks us up every morning. It’s not safe for us to take a taxi. Taxi drivers can be dangerous. Last year, my friend was abducted by a taxi driver. When she returned to school, she said that the driver had assaulted her. Many deaf girls are assaulted here. There are also lots of fights between taxi drivers, and they have weapons and shoot one another.”

Same rights

“At my school, we’ve learned about the rights of the child through The Globe, and I teach other children about their rights. I want to show them and the rest of society that I am equally as important as hearing children and have the same rights as them. If we aren’t given equal opportunities, we feel powerless.

At my school, we’ve learned about the rights of the child through The Globe, and I teach other children about their rights. I want to show them and the rest of society that I am equally as important as hearing children and have the same rights as them. If we aren’t given equal opportunities, we feel powerless.”

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