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Our Team

Azeem Amir

Tell us a little about yourself and how you have adapted to challenges in your life?

 

My name is Azeem Amir, 25 from Rochdale, born with a visual impairment with no vision in my right eye and light perception in my left. I’ve adapted my life in various ways, for tasks others may take for granted such as travelling, working, and using technology. I have relied on my other senses, such as listening, and I have implemented strategies to be as independent as possible. This is something I am incredibly passionate about, I also have the mindset where I believe I can achieve a task, as good as, if not better than an individual with full sight.

 

Why is advocating awareness around your challenge important to you and what do you enjoy about delivering workshops alongside Learn With ESS?

 

Advocating for those with visual impairments is important to me because I want those with the same or similar condition as me to feel confident and comfortable to speak up. I think it’s important to realise disabilities come in many ways and it is imperative to also raise awareness for hearing, physical, sensory impairments, and invisible disabilities. This can help society become more inclusive, helpful, and supportive which will have a massive positive impact. I love delivering the Learn With ESS workshops as every day is different and we get to work with a variety of unique groups and organisations, however the core of the workshops is always consistent. Allowing for a fun, interactive and engaging session which focuses on aspects around inclusion, mindset, and accessibility. The workshops are a fun way to develop skills such as empathy and gratitude.

 

Picture yourself in 10 years time. What three practical changes / mindset shifts have occurred making society a better place to be a part of for you?

 

I believe the majority of the society have never had the opportunity to speak/chat with a person with a disability. I hope that in 10 years time this would have changed which means people would be more comfortable with asking questions, are more knowledgeable about disabilities and most importantly are more forthcoming to be supportive. Hopefully there would have been a change workplaces and educational settings resulting in more inclusive CPD and disability focused subject learning. This can be more disability-based sports taught in schools and more sensory specific CPD in the workplace and having that embedded training. Finally, changing how society offers others a helping hand. This aligns with our mission statement and will hopefully result in small changes such as, society being kinder, offering assistance and actively thinking about what they can do to be more inclusive.

Zara Musker

Tell us a little about yourself and how you have adapted to challenges in your life?

 

I'm Zara Musker, 27, and I was raised in a hearing household. I began losing my hearing at the age of 18 months, and I grew up wearing two hearing aids. I didn't encounter another deaf person in regular school until I was 14 years old. I hadn't considered the difficulties I was facing, however, thankfully my family are incredibly supportive. I adapted by turning to face people in order to improve lipreading and hearing. Strong winds caused by adverse weather can cause distortion to hearing aids which i lessened by wearing a headband around my hearing aids. I currently have no hearing in my left ear and a cochlear implant in the right ear. I am much more outspoken about asking for assistance when I need it and I am continually overcoming and adapting to challenges that I face.

 

 

Why is advocating awareness around your challenge important to you and what do you enjoy about delivering workshops alongside Learn With ESS?

 

Being deaf and advocating for deaf awareness are important topics to me since hearing loss is a condition that can affect anyone and is becoming more common as the population ages. It is also important to me that these people feel accepted and included. It's also critical that people feel comfortable around those with hearing loss and are able to ask questions and learn. I love sharing my story and delivering sessions with Learn With ESS because of the friendly and inviting atmosphere.

 

 

Picture yourself in 10 years time. What three practical changes / mindset shifts have occurred making society a better place to be a part of for you?

 

It will be great if more people are familiar with basic sign language since it may help bridge communication gaps in a variety of settings, including shops, restaurants, hospitals, and classrooms. British sign language will be taught as a GCSE in schools starting in 2025. As understanding of deaf people grows, more individuals will feel safe approaching deaf people with questions. Employers may help by creating settings that are deaf conscious by employing better communication techniques and having better room acoustics. Deaf people are capable of achieving just as much as their hearing peers.

Lorenza Pye

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Tell us a little about yourself and how you have adapted to challenges in your life?

 

I am Lorenza I am mummy to Eliza .
Eliza was born with CHARGE syndrome a rare genetic disorder that affects multiple body systems. As a result she is Deaf, tube fed, also has a tracheostomy & non verbal for some time. Eliza prompted my sign language journey & I am currently coming to the end of my level 6 British Sign Language qualification. She also inspired me to create Eliza Says signing service which is a program offering signing classes which are  fun , relaxed & educatual .My ultimate goal is to break down communicate barriers & build stronger connections.I am passionate about making this beautiful & inclusive language accessible to all. I believe that every family, regardless of their background or abilities, should have the opportunity to communicate with their loved ones in a way that is natural and comfortable for them. That is why I am dedicated to sharing sign language with as many families as possible, especially those who may need it the most

 

Why is advocating awareness around your challenge important to you and what do you enjoy about delivering workshops alongside Learn With ESS?

 

As someone who hasn’t personally experienced the struggles &  challenges faced by individuals with disabilities but I am a parent to a child who has. advocating for inclusion & disability awareness is extremely important to me.
I believe that everyone should have equal opportunities & access to resources, regardless of their abilities. By promoting awareness and acceptance, we can create a more inclusive & supportive society for individuals with disabilities.
It is crucial that we work towards breaking down barriers & promoting inclusivity in all aspects of life, from education and employment to social interactions & accessibility.
I really enjoy working with Learn with ESS as this gives me the opportunity to promote inclusion in a relaxed & informal way

 

Picture yourself in 10 years time. What three practical changes / mindset shifts have occurred making society a better place to be a part of for you?

 

In 10 years time, I envision a society that is more inclusive & accommodating for deaf individuals. Firstly, I hope that there will be a greater understanding & awareness of deaf culture & the use of sign language as a legitimate and valuable form of communication.
Secondly, I hope that there will be improved accessibility in public spaces, including the use of technology such as captioning and video relay services. Lastly, I hope that there will be a shift in mindset where deaf individuals are not seen as equal in society.

One major change its see for disabilities is the increased accessibility & inclusivity in public spaces, making it easier for people with disabilities to navigate & participate in daily activities. This could include things like ramps, elevators, & automatic doors in all buildings, as well as audio & visual aids in public transportation. Another shift is the normalization & acceptance of disabilities, leading to a more inclusive & diverse community. This includes changes in attitudes and perceptions towards people with disabilities, as well as increased representation and visibility in media and politics.

Oliver
Johnson

Tell us a little about yourself and how you have adapted to challenges in your life?

 

My name is Olly Johnson, an 18-year-old student at Blackburn College, I was diagnosed with LHON, a rare genetic eye condition at 16. This subsequently led me to lose central vision. Despite this, I am studying sports science and working as an inclusion ambassador at the college, helping students with disabilities get involved in sports. I have participated in various blind sports, particularly enjoying blind football. I have recently been selected for the emerging talent program in the sport. Although I used to rely on others for mobility, I have regained some independence by using a cane, which helps navigate and identify hazards.

 

Why is advocating awareness around your challenge important to you and what do you enjoy about delivering workshops alongside Learn With ESS?

 

Raising awareness about my disability is crucial for understanding the condition and providing support in the workplace. Making small adjustments like moving the card reader to my phone can shopping can make daily tasks earlier. It is important to show others that having a disability doesn't hinder one's ability to achieve great things. I enjoy creating awareness about disabilities and educating employers on how to assist disabled customers. Experiencing life from a disabled person's perspective through activities like wearing blindfolds or using wheelchairs helps others grasp the importance of supporting disabled individuals.

 

Picture yourself in 10 years time. What three practical changes / mindset shifts have occurred making society a better place to be a part of for you?

 

In 10 years, one of the biggest mindset changes I hope occurs is not feeling sorry for disabled people. With a small adaption to how a job is executed, many disabled people will be able to complete a job just as good if not better than a fully abled person. For me this would mean making equipment accessible. For example, brail or audio description. Another practical change I would need would be the accessibility of the workplace. This would include making sure there are clear places to walk through and it is in an easily accessible area.

Hammas Majid

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Tell us a little about yourself and how you have adapted to challenges in your life?

I’m a 24-year-old studying Business Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, growing up in Rochdale, UK. I am actively involved in social circles and work for an Asian lifestyle magazine overseeing events and photoshoots. My unique perspective, shaped by my disability, allows me to contribute distinctive content to platforms like Learn With ESS. Adapting to life in a wheelchair has been a significant challenge, particularly during my school years. However, I have used this challenge as motivation to become a stronger person and achieve my goals. I approach every obstacle as an opportunity for growth and development, cultivating a positive mindset. While my disability will always be a part of my life, I don't let it define me. Instead, I focus on my strengths and abilities, looking forward to the future with optimism and determination.

Why is advocating awareness around your challenge important to you and what do you enjoy about delivering workshops alongside Learn With ESS?

Advocating for axonal neuropathy awareness is crucial to bring attention to an often-overlooked condition. Raising awareness can dispel misconceptions and promote understanding among the public, medical professionals, and policymakers. It can also lead to earlier diagnosis and appropriate treatment, improving affected individuals' quality of life. Workshops offer opportunities to share knowledge collaboratively, fostering dynamic discussions and a sense of community. Feedback received during workshops contributes to personal growth, and witnessing participants understand and learn new concepts is rewarding. Incorporating disability-inclusive practices in workshop delivery enhances the experience for all participants, promoting accessibility and inclusivity.

Picture yourself in 10 years time. What three practical changes / mindset shifts have occurred making society a better place to be a part of for you?

In the future, people with disabilities are fully integrated and included in all aspects of life. The society is committed to educating people about disabilities, promoting empathy, and eliminating stereotypes. Public spaces and buildings are designed to be more accessible with the use of ramps and assistive technologies. Workplaces and schools accommodate those with disabilities with programs such as extra time on tests, closed captioning, and sign language interpreters. This eliminates barriers for people with disabilities, creating a world where everyone can participate equally and thrive. In this society, people with disabilities are not stigmatized or marginalized, but rather seen as valuable and contributing members of society with diverse experiences and perspectives. In the future, society recognizes that everyone has unique strengths and abilities to offer, and it strives to create a world where all individuals have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
 

Hasnain Azam

Tell us a little about yourself and how you have adapted to challenges in your life?

 

My name is Hasnain, and I have a visual impairment and autism. I am passionate about mobile phones, technology, and exploring different cities and towns in the UK and around the world. I spend my spare time researching and watching videos about these topics. I come from an Asian background and grew up in Rochdale, attending school and college. After finishing college in 2019, where I completed a skills for life course, I now focus on doing things that make me happy. Recently, I have been participating in the Learn with ESS workshops. However, I face challenges with my visual impairment and autism, particularly when speaking to others about my interests or navigating in bright sunlight. To overcome this, I explain my conditions and seek assistance from family members or request others to guide me. I also wear dark tinted sunglasses in bright environments.

 

Why is advocating awareness around your challenge important to you and what do you enjoy about delivering workshops alongside Learn With ESS?

 

Advocating awareness for autism is personally important to me as it is an invisible disability that requires more understanding. I find great joy in participating in the learn with ESS workshops, as it allows me to meet new people and create a relaxed and happy environment. Sharing my experiences of visual impairment and autism helps others gain a better understanding of my condition. These workshops offer a real sense of the various challenges people with disabilities people have, making them enjoyable and meaningful. I look forward to taking part in more of these workshops.

 

Picture yourself in 10 years time. What three practical changes / mindset shifts have occurred making society a better place to be a part of for you?

 

I've seen significant improvements in aiding my visual impairment and autism. Mobile phone shops now offer a wide range of devices, allowing me, as someone with visual impairment, to closely examine products before purchasing. Larger phone models have been particularly helpful, enabling me to easily read text, which was not possible 10 years ago. As someone with autism, my interest in phones keeps me engaged and fulfilled. Additionally, the availability of more advanced tablets, maps, and street view has enhanced my understanding of places I'm passionate about. In the future, I hope to visit these locations to gain a better and more authentic experience that would benefit my autism.

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