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Charitable Mum of the Year, Sabina Iqbal

Around nine million people in the UK are either deaf or hard of hearing. Yet before 2001, when Sabina Iqbal set up the charity Deaf Parenting UK, there was no specific organisation here to represent the particular needs of deaf parents with hearing children.

Run by deaf parents for deaf parents, Deaf Parenting UK is the first organisation to address this gap in services. Sabina, 34, who is mum to Samaira, three and a half, and two-year-old Areeb, who can both hear, chairs the charity in a voluntary capacity. She also works as a sensory team manager for Islington Social Services and has written a book too, called Pregnancy And Birth: A Guide For Deaf Women.

In addition to offering vital support, the charity runs parenting skills courses every year and informs parents of their rights, for example making sure that a school provides an interpreter if necessary.

Deaf Parenting UK has also organised fun days, encouraging social integration with children who may feel a bit embarrassed by having deaf parents, and allowing them to mix in a natural environment. And the charity has received requests internationally from Australia and the USA, who are keen to establish similar organisations in their own respective countries.

Sabina says, ‘The everyday contact that people take for granted can be a struggle for deaf parents, and accessing services is the biggest barrier they face. The charity aims to empower parents and

Sabina Iqbal

parents-to-be and promote a positive image of deaf parents. We want to provide support and get across the message that there is nothing wrong with asking for help and advice.’

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