Bharti tireless as campaigner for the deaf

Date published: 08 August 2014


A WOMAN who refuses to allow her disability to get in the way of living life to the full has been nominated for a Pride in Oldham Award.

Bharti Raza (41), who is profoundly deaf, set up Oldham Deaf and Diverse Community (ODDC) five years ago with her husband, Anjum Raza, and friend, Waheed Chouhan.

The group — which meets on alternate Sundays at Mahdlo Youth Zone — has grown from 15 members to more than 150.

The centre was originally based in Union Street, behind the Lyceum, but that was not suitable for members in wheelchairs because of access problems.

Bharti and the team provide a service which includes a social club with lots of activities which enables parents and children to meet others and create social friendships which continue outside of the club.

Bharti also teaches basic sign language to families and members, even visiting them in their own homes.

Kevin Lanham, who nominated her, said: “Bharti is an inspiration and role model for deaf parents and children, and is tirelessly fundraising for ODDC.

Influence

“She is such a good influence on her community — is just a really nice, pleasant, positive character.

“She needs a bit of recognition for the things she has done.”

This year Bharti learned to ride a bicycle so that she could spend time cycling with her two daughters Jasmine (10) and Jamelia (6).

She turned her new skill into a fundraising opportunity and took part in two big events.

One covered the 45 miles from Manchester to Liverpool, with the the other even further at 60 miles, from Manchester to Blackpool.

In the process, she raised more than £1,100 to help towards activities and trips out for the families and members of the deaf social club.

Bharti, who lives in Coppice with her family, was shocked and surprised to have received a nomination.

She said: “We are all volunteers at ODDC and love what we do as I didn’t have this type of facility or activities when I was young.

“The youth clubs weren’t accessible to deaf people as there wasn’t enough awareness and communication was poor.

Involved

“It’s great to see families and young people getting involved in a variety of activities from sport, sign language, sign songs, art workshops, fitness, drama and trips.”

l To nominate someone or a group for an award, complete the form below or email the required information to editor@oldham-chronicle.co.uk, using the word Pride in the subject line.


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