Minister Meriton meets Miss Deaf Africa winners


Mr Meriton meeting the two Miss Deaf Africa winners

They were accompanied by the chairperson of the Association of People with Hearing Impairment (APHI) Anita Gardner.

One of the objectives of the meeting was to enlist the minister’s support for Seychelles to host the 2013 Miss Deaf Africa pageant. If all goes well, this will be sometime in September and it is expected to attract at least 15 contestants from across Africa.

This year’s Miss Deaf Africa pageant only attracted eight ladies from southern Africa. Seychelles was the only Indian Ocean country to take part.

Miss Botha, who is from Cape Town, told Mr Meriton how she has broken down the barrier of the hearing impairment by getting a complete education, up to university level and is now a qualified occupational therapist.

She told the minister that her younger sister, who also suffers from hearing impairment, is a ballet dancer.

Miss Désir, who lives at Roche Caïman, is also contemplating a career in the medical profession. She is presently studying maths, chemistry and biology at the School of Advanced Level Studies.

The minister congratulated both girls for looking ahead and opening up new horizons for themselves and others. “The sky is the limit,” he said.

He added that most people forget that we all suffer from some kind of disability, but this should not deter anybody from striving for progress.

Mr Meriton reminded the girls that all great things start small and everybody should in his or her own way, appreciate the greatest gift of God which is life.

Ms Gardner said about 600 people in Seychelles suffer from varying degrees of hearing impairment.  Hearing aids are worn, especially during childhood. This amplifies sound, but as children grow into their teens, this is often not necessary as is the case for Monica.

Miss Botha was wearing a cochlear implant, hidden in her hair, which is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is hard of hearing.

Miss Botha won a trip to Seychelles sponsored by the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB) as part of a package after being crowned the queen at Miss Deaf Africa.

Locally, she has travelled to Praslin complimentary of Inter-Island Boats on the Cat Cocos and enjoyed discounted accommodation at the Paradise Sun Hotel at Côte d’Or.

After the meeting with the minister, Ms Gardner took both girls to the Marie-Antoinette restaurant to enjoy some typically Creole cuisine.