‘No matter what difficulties we faced being hearing impaired back then, but having supporters aside us every time made us feel empowered. Especially after this pageant, we have understood that passion and hard work can conquer anything irrespective of physical challenges. We no more feel disabled.’
Kathmandu, 24 July, 2017: Nepal’s Surabhi Manandhar was crowned as Miss Deaf Asia 2017 and Janak Raj Bhatta was selected among Top 5 on Miss and Mister Deaf International 2017 held in Paris, France from July 10 to 17, 2017.
The Hidden Treasure (THT), in collaboration with Creative Hands of Deaf Women (CHDW), had made all the arrangements for their participation in the pageant and conducted intense rehearsals for the participants for around one month. This is the first time Nepal participated in this pageant and has set a landmark for Nepal’s representation in future pageants.
The press meet, organized by THT this Sunday at its office in Kupondole, heard the experiences of the participants through their interpreters.
Miss and Mister Deaf International 2017, featuring 19 male contestants and 20 female contestants, had kicked off with an intense rehearsal, followed many individual interviews. Surabhi performed traditional Kumari dance and Janak performed a drama on Nepalese village life, both performances showcasing the cultural richness and diversity of Nepal. It ended with Gala Appreciation Award Dinner and International Deaf Fashion Show.
Miss Deaf Asia 2017, Surabhi Manadhar, shared, “The training we received here from THT, even in a very short span of time, was similar to the training we received there. So, it helped us a great deal to groom ourselves in the training phase in France. But, we felt left behind in the interview round in international sign language.” Similarly, Janak Raj Bhatta added, “We have learned a lot through our experience there so; we both look forward to support and train Nepal’s representatives for the pageant next year.”
Kalpana Bajaracharya, President at Creative Hands of Deaf Women, who had accompanied the participants to France, exclaimed, “Surabhi and Janak had performed exceptionally well in all the rounds but the interview round wasn’t really up to the mark because the international sign language was a bit different compared to the language they practiced here. However, after the results were announced, we all were overwhelmed. Achieving this at our very first try is a matter of pride for us.” She also expressed how this milestone had made her hopeful that the deaf community can be invincible if given continuous efforts with strong determination.
Gopal Sundar Lal Kakshapati, Chairman of THT, revealed their future plans in collaboration with CHDW on making the results even better in the coming years. He also expressed great hope that Nepal will also host this pageant in the near future. “We have come to a realization that the hearing impaired people have exceptional learning abilities and learn things quicker than their other non-deaf counterparts. That makes our work way easier. However, we will make sure to make training arrangements in advance for the next year,” added Kakshapati.
Surabhi and Janak shared their journey from being a hearing-impaired child to achievers of international pageants. “No matter what difficulties we faced being hearing impaired back then, but having supporters aside us every time made us feel empowered. Especially after this pageant, we have understood that passion and hard work can conquer anything irrespective of physical challenges, and we no more feel disabled. In fact, we are differently able and believe that we can achieve great heights too,” shared Surabhi and Janak.
Photograph: The Hidden Treasure
By Drishti Maharjan