My ‘NO’ means ‘NO’

“Awareness is so important I think there are many components that the Deaf community does not have access to and therefore is not aware.”

From school straight to community work! This sums up the life of Ms. Nobuhle Maseko. She first encountered the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities in March this 2022. ‘There are a lot of things that I did not know that I know now, things that I had not experienced that I experience now, such as that of consent, knowing that you have the right to say No but then being forced and then eventually just accepting that.

The concept of people not understanding NO, the concept of my No is my NO and that impacted me, I think it served as a self-educational platform for me and also to raise awareness and to draw from various components of my life, consent stood out for me’ said Ms. Maseko as she narrated a topic that remains close to her heart since her first encounter with the NCPD.

Ms. Maseko is a young vibrant 25-year-old Deaf lady. Ms. Maseko has an Honours in Industrial Psychology and HR from the University of the Western Cape; she did her undergrad at the University of the Free State. Before her selection for training at the NCPD, Ms. Maseko was looking for a job. She only graduated last year.” It is really opening my horizons this project, “said Ms. Maseko as she highlighted how being part of this project gave her got the opportunity to overcome her shyness and to take advantage of the opportunity to help other Deaf women. “Awareness is so important I think there are many components that the deaf community does not have access to and therefore is not aware of.” said Ms. Maseko as she acknowledged how the program made her realize that GBV indeed is a pandemic, especially within the disability community.

Ms. Maseko could not hide her excitement as she narrated how personally she was inspired by the facilitator who delivered the training, “Maymoona the Blind Facilitator, “tjoo” she is very inspiring because she is very academic, she is resourceful in terms of knowledge and she really helped, she really provided clarity and that inspired me to participate and she was also very motivating and constant in her delivery of the message which was very inspiring.”

Ms. Maseko is conducting Disability-GBV sessions with female learners at St Vincent School for the Deaf and Filadelphia Special Needs School. She said she has drawn a lot from these sessions that even her family is also benefiting. “It has helped me with my family matters and also that I can help with my family; not only women but also males to start dialogues with cousins to empower them’’.

Ms. Maseko went on to highlight how she explained to her friends her work with the NCPD, “I also helped my friends and explained to them what the project is about and that creates awareness, what I learnt in the workshops I feel that it’s not about me it’s actually about my friends empowering other people, the pay it forward model has been hugely beneficial, and I hope that this pay it forward will reach as wide as possible, it’s so important in the Deaf Community, the Deaf Community is so small and we need that accessibility to take place and be facilitated”.