The National UAE – United Arab Emirates
By Asmaa Al Hameli
March 16, 2015
Shaikha Mohammed has some big dreams to chase. One day, she plans to pursue a degree in interior design. All the 28-year-old Emirati needs is a chance to prove herself.
That is not easy, however, as Ms Mohammed is almost completely deaf. She struggles to understand what others hear easily and must rely on lip reading and sign language.
Sipping a latte at a Pappa Roti cafe in Abu Dhabi, she explains through her signer: “I am not completely deaf, I can hear a little.”
Then she begins talking about her upbringing. “We are seven children,” she says in sign language. “Four boys and three sisters. Three of us are deaf.”
She learnt sign language at Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs.
She studied until high school but it was at this point that her formal education ended.
“I can’t go to university because there is none for people like me,” she says with a laugh.
“I would love to study abroad, but I need someone from [the] family to accompany me.”
Her deafness has left her speech impaired to such an extent that it deprives her of basic interaction with her compatriots and others at social gatherings.