Amazing Fijian

Deaf Foreman Lives Life To The Fullest

The 32-year-old originally from Seaqaqa has been working as a foreman at Abbas Engineering Limited in Labasa for 22 years.
15 Sep 2020 12:50
Deaf Foreman Lives Life To The Fullest
Shafil Irsaz Ali working at Abbas Engineering Limited as a foreman in Labasa on September 14, 2020. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Shafil Irsaz Ali is a man who has never let his hearing and speech impairment get in the way of life.

The 32-year-old originally from Seaqaqa has been working as a foreman at Abbas Engineering Limited in Labasa for 22 years.

Married and a father to a seven-year-old child, Mr Ali currently resides in Naduna, Labasa.

“After finishing welding training at Labasa School for Special Education, I enrolled at Labasa Technical College of Fiji where I graduated with a Certificate in Welding and Fabrication level one and two,” Mr Ali communicated using sign language.

“Since birth, I can’t speak and hear.”

“I have always used my hands, legs, knowledge and skills to survive.

“From the income I earned, I bought a car for my family and land as I have a dream to run my own garage business,” he signed.

However, he hasn’t always had an easy time communicating with others who can hear and speak.

“Some laugh at me when I use sign language, but I don’t get angry,” he signed.

“I can’t blame anyone for my disability. However, on behalf of others who are like me, I would like to say, respect us as we are also human beings made by God.”

Mr Ali said he from a young age he had been playing soccer for various teams especially during the religious tournaments. This year he is playing as a midfielder for Nadogo team in the Vodafone Senior League competition.

Nadogo Football Association president Mohammed Yunus said the officials had never faced problems in communicating with Mr Ali.

“He knows what he has to do when he on the field,” Mr Yunus said.

“He shows respect to everyone and remains calm at all times including on the field.”

He said they considered themselves fortunate to have such a man with great discipline.

Mr Ali’s wife, Alesi Ravula, said they have been living together since they married in 2012.

“I am very happy in our marriage and we are expecting our second child,” she said.

“Although our life is like a married couples without disabilities, we are blessed as we have everything to survive.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce



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