Malala Yousafzai wants to hear inspiring stories from deaf pupils

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Malala Yousafzai: 'My message to all the children with hearing loss is that you can achieve any dream that you have'

Global education advocate Malala Yousafzai is supporting a campaign to raise awareness about the challenges faced by children with hearing loss.

There are an estimated 34 million children worldwide affected by hearing loss, including 50,000 in the UK. Deafness is not a learning disability and yet educational outcomes are often worse for these children.

Globally, many children with hearing loss and deafness simply do not receive schooling. This problem is exacerbated in many parts of the world where millions of children – especially girls – already face significant barriers to education.

In the UK, 80 per cent of deaf children attend mainstream schools. Deaf children fall an average of a grade behind their hearing class-mates at GCSE and just 41 per cent achieve two A levels or equivalent by the age of 19, compared to 65 per cent of other young people. In 2020, GCSE results show that the average score for deaf pupils was a grade 4, compared to a grade 5 for hearing children.

The National Deaf Children’s Society says that many deaf pupils, and their classroom teachers, need access to specialist staff like teachers of the deaf to succeed at school. However, over the last six years, one in 10 have been cut, with their numbers falling from 995 to 903.

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate and has been a vocal advocate for young girls’ right to an education. Malala has lost her hearing in her left ear and uses cochlear implants.

In 2012, aged 15, Malala was the victim of a failed assassination attempt when a Taliban gunman shot her as she rode home on a bus after taking an exam in Pakistan.

Her new campaign – the Achieve Anything Programme – is a partnership between the Malala Fund and the Cochlear Foundation. Malala is calling for young people with hearing loss and their parents to share stories of personal achievement to inspire other children and raise awareness of the issue.

She said: “My message to all the children with hearing loss is that you can achieve any dream that you have. Yes, there are things that might limit us, and things might be slightly harder for us.I personally can relate to that because I also have lost my hearing in my left ear.

“You deserve this. You deserve to have equal opportunities as everybody else. Loss of hearing should not be a hurdle in your way; you can have any dream in the world that you want and you achieve that dream for yourself.

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