Meet Deaf Speaker Behind Sign Language TV Station [VIDEO]

  • Michael Ashura delivering a past news bulletin on Signs TV
    Michael Ashura delivering a past news bulletin on Signs TV
    YouTube
  • Michael Ashura is not your everyday 27-year-old. She has become a leading light for Kenyans living with disability due to various commendable projects and ventures she is immersed in.

    Ashura was not born deaf but, rather, lost her hearing at the age of 4. She however never let this stop her from achieving her dreams.

    She is behind Signs TV, Kenya's first sign language TV station. Currently available online, the station produces wide-ranging content including news, entertainment, and sports.

    Unlike most TV stations, it places a sign language speaker or interpreter at the center of broadcasts for various shows aired on the channel.

    Ashura herself reads news bulletins on the station in sign language and hosts a talk-show, delivering various reports which are also voiced for those who do not understand sign language.

    Watch Ashura present a news bulletin on Signs TV below:

    The channel is also credited with helping demystify sign language including, having popular personalities and celebrities such as comedian DJ Shiti and singer Vivian feature in various sign language shows.

    All shows on Signs TV including church services, talk shows, magazine shows, news and entertainment have a Kenya Sign Language (KSL) speaker as the host.

    Ashura, however, dabbles not only in media but has started making a name for herself in leadership and politics as well.

    She is behind the Orange Disabilities League which she established in November 2016, meant to ensure political participation by disabled supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

    Ashura also made history in 2019 when she became the first deaf individual to be elected Speaker of the East Africa Youth Parliament.

    She was voted into the position by around 150 youth representatives from various East African Community (EAC) member states.

    “This was quite an honour for me. Being recognised by your peers is a sign that they trust your leadership qualities,” Ashura stated of the appointment at the time.

    Ashura holds a diploma in law, a certificate in civil leadership from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Arts in gender and development from the University of Nairobi. 

    Writing on Thursday, July 9, Orange Democratic Movement  (ODM) Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna disclosed his belief that her star was only going to shine brighter.

    "She is a proud product of the ODM party. Watch this one, her star will shine bright," he tweeted.

    East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Martin Ngonga (left) pictured with Ashura Michael, East African Youth Assembly Speaker after she was elected in 2019
    East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Martin Ngonga (left) pictured with Ashura Michael, East African Youth Assembly Speaker after she was elected in 2019
    The Standard