When currency exchange service EasyFX www.easyfx.combegan work on its new website last year, they encountered an unexpected problem: they couldn’t find enough images of female travellers who represented the true diversity of what women who travel around the world really look like. They realised that, when it came to representing women of all colours, cultures, shapes and sizes, the travel industry was lagging sorely behind.
In response, they are curating a database that shows the true diversity of what #WomenWhoTravel www.easyfx.com/womenwhotravel REALLY look like. We are proud to be a part of this campaign. Here’s why:
Travel is definitely more than a hobby because we see it as a lifestyle. Our challenge was to travel last year to share our experiences with the diversity community, who don’t travel much. Through our travel, we experience different cultures and people. We always try to learn from these differences. Our blog gives us the opportunity to widen our perspective. The more you see, the less you hate. Prejudice is a big part of the human condition and the more cultures you experience, the more you realise they are not that different from us.
Every women deserves to have a chance to see the world, just like us. And sometimes it’s easy to feel intimidated because there’s lack of diversity and representation in the travel industry. Who doesn’t have a dream to travel? We want to be role models. We aim to inspire diversity girls and women to see the world too. It’s okay to be yourself and look the way you do while you travel around the world!
It’s hard to believe we are already in March, one of our favourite months of the year, flowers are in bloom and of course, it’s Women’s History Month. Which women inspire you the most?
Haben Girma. She is an inspiration to people with disabilities as well as people without disabilities. She is living proof that if you are determined enough and if you try hard enough you will be successful. She is deaf-blind and she went to Harvard, the number one school in America.
We are excited to tell you that we have been selected by OkayAfrica as two of the Top 100 Women in the Continent. We are truly honoured to be OkayAfricahonorees 2018. Looking back, never in a million years, would we have thought we would be seeing ourselves as one of OkayAfrica honorees 2018 during Women’s History Month. We gave up everything in order to follow our dream, Being Her was created from ZERO, but also it’s proof that in the modern world many things are possible.
It’s amazing to be recognised for the work that we do.
We are proud to be part of CasetifyBeautiful But Tough Campaign.
“We happen to be Deaf, we say happen, because we don’t see it as a disability as, others do. We see it as an advantage! With our hearing diminished our other senses become heightened, therefore our touch, taste and vision can appreciate different aspects maybe a hearing person wouldn’t. . . . We both suffered our loss of hearing under strange circumstances. We were seven years old, playing outside (in our hometown Eritrea) one moment we could hear, the next we couldn’t. We refuse to allow being Deaf to define or hold us back. We thrive on positive thinking, taking up new challenges. We have had many difficult experiences but no matter how many up’s and down’s we experience it always brings us closer together. Our relationship is so strong because we understand each other. BEING HER was borne from frustration. We were frustrated by the Fashion Industries lack of accessibility. For a creative Industry the volume of constraints being applied to who and what can be achieved is surprising. When we feel limited, that’s when we decide to push boundaries. Our aims to challenge the world’s attitude and views towards people with disabilities . . . We never allow being deaf to limit our ambition and disability doesn’t mean inability. We had to do something about it and make our voice heard! We want to inspire disabilities or people that they can make their dream come true. . Being authentic makes us feel beautiful. Imperfections add to beauty, they draw you close, so you can fully appreciate it. Being deaf may be difficult but being scared is the real barrier. If you really want something in your life, you have to take a risk and never let anyone tell you you are weak because you’re a woman! Love being yourself and the world will love you!”
We were invited to be part of the Deafness and Self Care panel at the Women of the World Festival 2018, which was held at the Southbank Centre and were also WOW den judges.
WOW Den Judge: What do you think will change women’s lives for the better?
It’s a bit like Dragon’s Den meets WOW, people are invited to suggest their ideas for making the world a better place for women and girls. We as judges have to decide which ideas should win. We had the best time, there were so many incredibly inspiring women conveying their ideas. The first place decision was made by a group of judges, including Olga Miler UBS Director, last year’s WOW Den winners Gabby Edlin, Mandu Reid and the founder of WOW Jude Kelly. We picked a former prisoner’s desire to help other women who have been in prison and the audience voted the second winner for a self-care festival.
Thank you to Hannah Poole for inviting us to be apart of the WOW experience it was surreal and exciting, both at the same time. It just goes to show being deaf, anything is possible.
Let’s focus on that…
Deaf Women are twice as likely to experience mental health issues as hearing women, yet most “talking therapies” such as CBT are not Deaf Aware, and self remedies such as mindfulness apps or mediation classes only cater to the hearing community. With higher risks of depression, suicide and self-harm.
We had a discussion about the Deafness, mental health and self-care. We have learned a lot about mental health and deafness, the deaf community struggles daily with stigma and communication barriers, functioning in a hearing world can lead to mental health issues. The problem is, mental health services are too difficult for deaf people to access because of these communication problems.
Think about it, if you were a deaf person seeking help from the mental health services having a BSL/English interpreter isn’t good enough. This approach isn’t working for deaf community as three-way conversations can cause stress and/or misunderstandings. What is needed are trained therapists who are either deaf or fluent BSL users themsleves.
It’s very scary that hearing people from the profession are not aware about the issues surrounding deafness and mental health. This is something we need to discuss openly due to the high risk factor. If there are no BSL therapists or interpreters, how can they communicate? It’s important to make sure everyone has equal access to mental health services.
Any deaf people who feel that they can’t cope with their feelings or are feeling depressed, please go to SignHealth, it is a charity that is making sure Deaf people get the same access as hearing people to healthcare and health information. We have met some amazing people who have made an impact on us concerning this issue and we applaud all their work. It’s time to change now, more awareness, will be better for everyone.
You have to watch the Silent Child, the 2018 Oscar winner for best short film and then you will understand the issue…
We moved to USA first for several hearing tests, to get new hearing aids and speech therapy, everything we needed to help with our disability. Our mother knew we were going back to Eritrea after one year in USA because we had a wonderful home, our parents had good jobs. However they decided to move to the UK for our-sakes as the UK offered a better education and safety. There was a civil war in Eritrea. As a child we didn’t know where we were going which made us feel anxious and overwhelmed. Without the support system put in place by our parents we would have ended up in a lost world.
We found our identity at boarding school. Sign language was so beautiful, and the deaf community just became our family. Within the hearing world, it can be lonely. As soon as we were in that deaf world, we fitted in. It was where we belonged. Signing is physical and beautiful. It’s visual, it relies quite a lot on facial expressions and a positive vibe. We want to educate you on what sign language means and give you a sense of deaf awareness. You need to be more open minded and learn sign language.
Our identity is so important to us because if we weren’t deaf, we would simply not be the way we are now. Life for us would be so different, we are proud of who we are with our deafness. Being deaf hasn’t held us back from doing what we want to do in our lives!
Copenhagen is voted the happiest city in the world. Colourful townhouses, beautiful boats on the canals, Michelin-starred restaurants, cosy cafes and the freshest pastry’s ever! Although we’re not great fans of coffee. You are always cycling distance from castles, art galleries and museums. We love the hipster area Vesterbro, the chic fashion and design shops and the wonderful amusement park. The city feels airy with beautiful skies and sunshine even if it is FREEZING! An absolute must is a stylish pair of sunglasses as the sun is very low. The streets are spacious with gorgeous architecture old and new.
While Copenhagen has a reputation for being expensive there are ways that you can stay on budget while enjoying all the cool things the city has to offer.
We booked last minute for February because it’s low season, less tourists and more affordable accommodation but bear in mind it is so cold, bring good layers of clothes. We stayed with wonderful Airbnb at Puggaardsgade Kobenhavn (Copenhagen) and it’s very central. One thing that surprised us about Copenhagen was the fact that you can practically walk everywhere.
While wandering around Copenhagen, we spotted the Museum called Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, one of Scandinavia’s top art galleries. Its displays ancient and modern art in truly unique surroundings. The Winter Garden is a fabulous space, felt like we were in a jungle. Perfect space to chill, have a drink and dinner with your friends or lover. The price cost 95-110 DKK per adult, children are free and Tuesdays entrance is free. We stopped by Bar Burrito for late night taco heaven.
Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest amusement park in the world. Tivoli is a must-do for every visitor to Copenhagen, with or without children. The scenery typifies winter wonderland, It’s magical and vintage. The price cost 100KK just for walking around or 200KK unlimited rides.
Nyhavn is the famous harbour, the picture-perfect postcard area of Copenhagen – super touristy, but super pretty. Nyhavn is filled with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food and admiring the colourful view.
Magstraede is the prettiest and oldest street, the townhouses have vibrant colours. You must take the time to walk down this little street. We spotted a wonderful atmospheric courtyard behind Restaurant Krebsegaarden, it’s definitely worth a visit. Grabodretorv 3 is one of the oldest squares in Copenhagen. A must see to past by or a stopover for food and drinks. Beautiful old houses surround the square. Around the old neighbourhood the street is vibrant and lively, crammed with shops and cafes.
Stroget is most famous for shopping. Overall it is a truly Instagram worthy spot. We stopped over Sonny cafe, cosy place with amazing Sonny big shot (warm turmeric, ginger, lemon, danish apple), coffee and a very tasty menu. Coffee Factory is the cute little bar where the coffee/tea is great and the brownies are heaven. Their interior is so chic and vintage. The atmosphere is hygge (cosy) and the location is pretty in central. We walked past by a hidden gem restaurant called Chao Viet Kitchen, What a great find. Excellent fresh Vietnamese cuisine and very reasonably priced.
If you’re into history or want to see how the Danish Royal family lives, Christiansborg Palace needs to be on your to-do list in Copenhagen. It also contains the Danish Parliament, Supreme Court and Ministry of State. Vesterbro is known as hipster, the Meatpacking District where cool people hang out for dinner, drinks and dancing with such a generous selection of bars and club. We had delicious sushi, walked to the best cocktail bar in Copenhagen, called 1656. It’s hidden but worth the effort. The bar itself is small, dark, and extremely hygge (cosy): everything is vintage. The staff are extremely sweet and recommended delicious cocktails.
Lastly, we were lucky to spot ‘The Wave’ at Ofelia Plads in the late evening, it is part of the frost festival every year. It has interactive triangles, which line up parallel behind each other. The triangular gates are glowing and making sounds. It’s magical to walk in the triangle, what a spectacular view. Lagkagehuset is one of the top cafes in the world, we had rye sandwiches, hot chocolate and Danish pastries to die for. We loved everything we tried.
We planned to visit Norrebero, it’s multicultural, vibrant and colourful. Paper island is a perfect place to visit for street food, hosts Copenhagen Street Food, a huge market hall full of stalls selling food of all kinds. Botanisk have ‘botanical garden’ for few hours to unwind in the middle of nature and to enjoy the views. Frederiks Kirke ‘The marble church’ is more richly decorated and impressive than Copenhagen’s Cathedral, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a leading international museum of modern art. Unfortunately, it was too cold to explore.
We recommend going in summer or spring, we would definitely visit again. The city would sparkle and the people are enjoying every minute off it, cuddling in parks, cosying up in cafés and bars and exploring the wonderful Copenhagen.