Lydia Kram (23) was born and raised in a small town called Keiskammahoek known as Qoboqobo. She says she grew up with two siblings and other family members. Lydia did her pre-school at Douglass Ross Primary and went to St Thomas School for the Deaf in 2009, upon realising that she had a hearing problem.

“I am a deaf young, beautiful and outgoing lady; also an active, respectful and hardworking learner. I am one of the learners who helped new teachers and new learners to adapt in the Deaf Communication.

I am always eager to help teachers with Deaf Culture and Sign Language. I care about the needs of others and I had a specific girl who I looked after. I made sure the girl’s hair was taken care of,” she tells Rise ‘N Shine.

Lydia says she participated in extra-mural activities and entered for various beauty pageants. She was crowned Miss Freshet, Miss Valentine, Miss St Thomas and Miss Deaf respectively. “I was and still am fashionable, well-groomed and stylish. I am very friendly which is the reason why I made sure people feel comfortable and welcomed in a new environment. When I was born, my mother was very happy and she said I brought joy to her life and she always thanked God every day for the beautiful angel God had brought to her life,” Lydia reveals.

Acting up, pranks and just being naughty are usually normal and healthy phases of the development of every child. Lydia was no different “Growing up I was very active and naughty. I remember the other day when I was playing with my younger sister, Maizena, and I put her under the tap and showered her. It was meant as a joke but she didn’t see it that way as she was so cold of the cold water,” she reveals.

“As I started at Thomas High School I learned a lot from the school. I have learnt to be independent at a young age because I was in boarding school. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be a respectful young lady. I have always had an interest in beauty pageants starting from a very young age and most of the pageants I have entered I have won,” she continues.

A report issued by The World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that at least 466 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. Of those people at least 34 million are children. According to WHO, 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes. In South Africa, about 7.5 percent of school children suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss.

Unfortunately, in our country, most deaf people (especially those living in rural areas) are still not getting all the help needed to hear the full spectrum of speech.

“Be confident and share that fact that you have hearing loss with the person you are speaking to if you feel comfortable. Remember that they are more likely to modify their speech, or try to help, if they know why you aren’t hearing them,” advises Hearing Clinic of South Africa.

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