Esther, 24, is a deaf member of the Union of Deaf and Dumb located in Juba, South Sudan
“Peace is paramount and it starts with you, the individual. When you have peace within yourself, you can then share it with your family, with your neighbors, and with others. People with disabilities are able to help build peace when they have access to information. We, in turn, can take the information we receive and share it with our groups, especially those members who are in the counties and states. I’m thankful for the opportunity to acquire knowledge which can help the members of the Union of Deaf and Dumb understand conflict prevention and management principles,” she says.
“Conflict is not good, as it separates people. Hearing impaired people in South Sudan are often not in school, or abandoned. Bringing us together is good because it provides an opportunity to share concepts of living well and of overcoming challenges."
Esther previously attended the National Dialogue advocacy forum [for people with disabilities and other marginalized groups].
"I felt truly included in the broader process," she says of her previous experience.
"We want to be included in decision-making and we want our voices to be heard. People with disabilities can be a force for peace but we face challenges with getting information, due to lack of interpretation services available to us. Now that peace has been signed, events like this one are a good step. This initiative provides us with a place to go and to start dialoguing," she concludes.