Alesia Parshutsina’s ambition to qualify as a teacher for deaf children is remarkable, not only because she is profoundly deaf, but until three years ago she also knew barely any English.
“There are few opportunities for deaf people in her native Belarus,” said Alesia, age 21, so on leaving school, she came to the UK and signed up at the City Lit on its ‘New Start in the UK’ course. “From the word go, Alesia had a real thirst for knowledge,” says Sian Reeves, her nominator and senior co-ordinator, Skills for Life, at the City Lit. “I have never seen such progress made by a foreign deaf person new to the UK.”
Not only has she progressed through the Entry Levels of literacy and numeracy faster than most students, she has also achieved British Sign Language, CLAIT and ECDL qualifications and branched out into such diverse subjects as Thai massage, watercolour painting and GCSE Maths. Alesia acts as a peer teacher in class, volunteers and works part-time as a PA to the Director of Empowering Deaf Society, and is also an assistant teacher of British Sign Language at a deaf organisation.
“In the UK I have the opportunity to enjoy life fully, get education I am interested in and no one pointing the finger at me because I am deaf,” she said.