a few years ago, before I even had the idea to launch Askina Collection, I told myself: "If I ever create my own business, I want it to be philanthropic".
I was on the fence about sharing the following information because I don't want to mix business and personal things... But maybe this information will help someone who was in my shoes...
As you know (or maybe not yet if you are new), I have a moderate hearing loss since childhood. There are 4 levels of deafness: mild, moderate, severe and profound. I was not born this way. This is due to recurrent ear infections that I had from the age of 2 months.
At the age of 6, the doctor prescribed hearing aids for me. I was lucky to be able to benefit from them ... and yet I was ashamed of them (what will classmates say?).
So I spent all my schooling years without these precious devices ... it's a shame because they would have been very beneficial because in class it was not easy.
Many years ago, being « different » was seen as something abnormal. I would have liked so much to see posters at school which reminds us that there is beauty in difference, that we are all unique even if one of our « organs » don't function properly, ...
In short, it was not until the age of 22 that I finally accepted my deafness. I don't call it "a disability" but "a particularity".
Then around the age of 27, I learned Sign Language out of curiosity (in truth I discovered it at around 8 years old, one of my neighbors communicated with Deaf neighbors and it had been in the back of my mind for a very long time ... I had even learned the alphabet that I had "taught" to a friend and in high school we communicated by spelling each words !). I didn't know that such experience would help me to accept my deafness even more! I was no longer embarrassed not to hear well! Since then, I don’t hesitate to inform my interlocutor of my hearing loss. Speaking out loud about it as helped other people affected by deafness to see it differently!
Learning Sign Language allowed me to discover a culture and a history where I still felt a little concerned. I navigate between two worlds: the hearing world and the deaf. It also allowed me to befriend Deaf people.
In France, we are fortunate to benefit from financial / human and technical assistance (even if there is still a long way to improve, we can say that we are still well advanced compared to other countries).
But unfortunately, this is not the case in developing countries where deafness is little known. Children face huge challenges and are isolated due to lack of accessibility / education / information. Parents are unaware and do not know how to communicate with their children. Sometimes, deafness is diagnosed many years after.
This is why, I've chosen to donate part of the sales to Deaf Child Worldwide, a charity based in England that works in close collaboration with partners in developing countries so that Deaf children and young people can be included in their families, in the school system and in the community through proper training, information, deafness awareness, ...
My (not anymore) secret project
I take advantage of this post to slip in one of my projects which I hope will take form in a few years: I would LOVE to teach Deaf children in developing countries how to sew. Perhaps making them discover this hobby can spark a passion and why not make a business out of it when they are older?
Do you want to read more about deafness ? "I can't hear you well Part 2/2" is available here.