Maresia’s story – “I want to set up a service teaching BSL for children and the families of Deaf children”

I have always enjoyed teaching BSL (British Sign Language) as it is my passion. I previously worked in a role that involved supporting Deaf children and their families to learn sign language. I know there’s a lot of Deaf children who may be frustrated or anxious because there’s a major communication barrier between themselves and their families – and I feel it is important for all families of Deaf children to learn sign language so they can communicate with their child in their daily life and break down any communication barriers. This is the reason I want to set up my business – to help the families of Deaf children break these barriers, as well as for the wider hearing community. 

I can empathize with these children because I have also experienced these barriers during my own childhood. My own experiences have made me realize that Deaf children need a good Deaf role-model. When I was younger, I knew a lovely Deaf lady named Judith – I will never forget her support as she was the one who taught my family to sign. I used to look up to her and the way she brought positive vibes into my family – her role in my life meant that my mum and siblings learnt BSL, which meant that my family and I could communicate with one another! I think that if she hadn’t been there, my family would not have learnt how to communicate with me, so that’s why I want to do the same for Deaf children. I love to see their faces light up when they see me as a confident Deaf person. I want to set up this business to help the families of Deaf children break these communication barriers. 

I have also noticed a gap in positive role-models for Black, Deaf children. Most of my family members can’t sign because of a lack of accessibility within the Black community to resources. I found when I was younger, there were no Black, Deaf role-models for me to look up to – and I can see this is an issue for many young, Black Deaf children even today.  

“I have no problem being Deaf, it’s society that makes it harder for me” – Rose Ayling-Ellis 

Supported by the 2014 to 2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme