Most Beautiful Deaf Girl pageant to promote rights of persons with disabilities – Organisers

Most Beautiful Deaf Girl in Nigeria (MBDGN) pageant

Coordinator of the Most Beautiful Deaf Girl in Nigeria (MBDGN) pageant Janet Fasaki says the event is to drive awareness and promote the rights of deaf persons in Nigeria.

Fasaki said at a news conference on the pageant on Thursday in Abuja that they would use fashion, beauty and glamour to raise awareness of the needs and rights of deaf persons in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the second edition of the Most Beautiful Deaf Girl in Nigeria pageant will hold on September 17 in Abuja.

The first edition was held in Lagos with Maria Okese from Delta emerging winner.

“It is all about promoting the positive aspects of deafness and encouraging social, political, economic inclusion and equal access to education and healthcare.

“When people come across the name MBDGN, they see fashion, glamour and beauty, but behind this initiative was to echo the issues bedevilling the deaf community.

“The event will shine the true light of deaf women and girls to the world.

“We are going to use glamour and fashion to drive awareness and advocate for the promotion of deaf rights in our society.

“Few of the rights we are advocating for include, adoption of sign language as official language to promote respect for the deaf.

“The MBDGN shall be made to drive a sign language-oriented programme to showcase the beauty of deaf culture,” Fasaki said.

According to her, the deaf deserve equal opportunity in education without age restriction and deployment of professional teachers to schools for the deaf.

She called for deployment of sign language interpreters to hospitals, allowing the deaf to participate in the electoral process and economic activities, including access to loans and other financial incentives.

Similarly, Programme Officer, Deaf Resources Centre (DRC) Victoria Ademola said girls and women should be given the needed visibility, so as to achieve the SDGs one to five.

The goals include no hunger, zero poverty, good health, education, gender equality and reduction of inequalities.

She said it was regrettable that deaf women and girls continue to face barriers in health and education.

Mrs Ademola added that gender-based violence was on the rise and most of such cases were not reported because of lack of compensation and fear of victimisation.

“For this reason, DRC was established to re-echo the silent issues hindering the progress of deaf people, seek collaboration with the public to create opportunities that would empower them and give them stronger voices”.

Also speaking, President, Network of Women with Disabilities Lois Auta commended the introduction of the beauty pageant and called on government and other institutions to support the initiative.

Auta said that it was time to strengthen the voices of the deaf and prioritise the issues of deaf women and girls in the country.