Vicki Fourie defines her life by the quote 'Courage isn't a gift, it's a decision.' Even though she has 97% hearing loss, she learnt from an early age how to speak like a hearing person and she excels in lip-reading as means of communication. Vicki is a former Miss Deaf South Africa 2009, as well as Miss Deaf International 2010 1st Princess. Currently, she's a motivational speaker.
Find out how to book her for your event at: http://vickifourie.com/
Transcript of talk:
Good evening everyone. I’m Vicki Fourie and I’m a former Miss Deaf South Africa, and now I’m a motivational speaker and published writer.
The one question I get asked quite often is, ‘Would you rather be blind or deaf?’ And when I ask them the question back, their response is they would rather be deaf than blind.
To me, that’s a funny response. I don’t know what it’s like to be blind but I can experience it when I blind-fold myself. I know what it’s like to struggle with hearing loss.
If you don’t know who’s Helen Keller, Google her. She was this amazing inspiring woman who was both blind and deaf. She often said that ‘Blindness separates you from objects; deafness separates you from people.’ I’m going to say that again: ‘Blindness separates you from objects; deafness separates you from people.’
I find that to be the truth. When you’re blind, you can’t watch the TV, enjoy a sunset or admire a painting.
When you’re deaf or you have some degree of hearing loss, immediately it separates you from the society you live in.
So when people ask me whether I’d rather be blind or deaf, I ask them, ‘What is more important to you: objects or people?’
To me, life is about people. It is about building relationships. Now that I have bilateral cochlear implants, I can hear 80% and it has made life so much easier for me. I can talk to people, I follow conversations and building relationships are so much easier.
This month is National Month of Deaf People and chances are good that you know of someone with hearing loss.
That person can be completely deaf and speak sign language, or it could be someone with mild hearing loss, such as an elderly person. It is estimated that over 10% of South Africans have a type of hearing loss. I’ve never met anybody who tells me that they don’t know of someone with hearing aids and/or who speaks sign language. If you know of such a person, reach out to them this month. Relationships are so important, and when you struggle with your hearing you tend to withdraw and isolate yourself.
Make a date with that person, take them out for a coffee, visit them at their home, whichever way they’re most comfortable with. Make an effort with them this month. I appreciate your efforts, and I know they will appreciate it as well.