During a time when I spent huge chunks of my day watching YouTube vloggers, youtuber Tyler Oakley announced that his videos would come with subtitles. I was impressed with Tyler’s effort to make his video accessible for all. That was many years back. Reading a recent interview of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 22 winner Nyle Dimarco gave me a glimpse into the deaf models childhood and his challenges in the present day. Dimarco, a 28 year old American model who went onto compete and win Dancing With The Stars comes from a family with many deaf individuals. The model has used his platform to establish The Nyle DiMarco Foundation in 2016. As one does, I was soon searching for videos interviews of DiMarco that I could watch to learn more about him. Watching his videos and seeing him talk about the isolation he feels at times in the hearing world which he now is heavily exposed to thanks to his modelling career made me wonder about the population of deaf or hard of hearing people in Nepal.
I remembered the story of Mister Deaf Nepal and Miss Deaf Nepal, Janak Raj Bhatta and Surabhi Manandhar, who represented Nepal at the Mister and Miss Deaf International in Paris, France this summer. With Miss Deaf Belgium and Mister Deaf Poland winning the main title, Miss Deaf Nepal Surabhi successfully won the subtitle for Miss Deaf Asia. Surabhi Manandhar also walked the runway at the recent Classic Diamond Jewellers Fashion Show in Kathmandu. Furthermore, I recalled my own experiences of visiting the different Bakery Cafe outlets in Kathmandu. By employing staff who are deaf or hard of hearing, The Bakery Cafe has led by example that many of us still need to follow.
I was still unable to get the population of deaf or hard of hearing individuals in Nepal. With Reuters and a document titled The Joshua Project stating the figure at 500,000, the National Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nepal puts the figure at a high of 700,000. In a stark contrast Al Jazeera’s video report mentions 50,000 and Code for Nepal states two percent (1.94%; 513,321) of the total population of Nepal reported having “some kind of disability” (Nepal Census, 2011). In the Code for Nepal page, the breakdown states 15.4% identified as deaf/hard of hearing which would approximately be 79,051 deaf/hard of hearing in Nepal. Hmm! I’m still left with a question, please feel free to share any insight via the comment box below.
On a concluding note, I’ve added a video of Tyler and Nyle DiMarco, a Q&A video of Nyle DiMarco and a Al Jazeera video report by Subina Shrestha on The Bakery Cafe. Also, Miss and Mister Deaf International returns in 2018 from July 8 – 16 in Taiwan.
AL JAZEERA Video Report