Hi everyone! My name is Hanifah Jones and I am a Digital Storytelling & Social Media Intern at Deaf Open World. I am a rising senior at Susquehanna University pursuing a degree in Communications Studies. Growing up in Philadelphia, PA I am very passionate about the arts. My hobbies include reading, writing, drawing, painting, music and DIY crafts.
My first week as an intern was full of interesting new information. I began my week by reading eSwatini’s State of the Youth Report. Unfortunately, I only had time to complete two readings this week, time management is definitely something I have to work on. In the report it is stated that there are limited resources for those living with disabilities in the country. Limited access to proper education and healthcare create a heavier burden for the disabled youth. Because of this (as well as cultural beliefs), many deaf people in eSwatini are discriminated against and receive little to no accommodations.
Last Fall, I studied abroad in South Africa (which borders eSwatini). While attending the University of Cape Town I learned a lot about the region’s treatment of those with disabilities. Witnessing the lack of disability culture in other parts of the world made me realize how lucky we are to have disability awareness in the U.S. While it is not perfect, it is continuing to grow. We were fortunate enough to have TV shows like Switched at Birth, which showcased a diverse representation of the American deaf community.
Things like this are what attracts me to advocacy. I wholeheartedly believe in equal rights for everyone despite the color of the skin, the religion they follow, or any disabilities they might have. I also believe in the right to proper education and the removal of stigmas against those who are disabled. That is why I am proud to be interning with Deaf Open World. As a Digital Storytelling Intern, I hope to tell the stories of our students and show people that they are no different than you or me. That they also have hobbies and hopes and dreams to accomplish.
I am very excited to continue my internship and continue learning new things!