Five minutes with Njoud Al Kubaisi
Written by Heba Hashem
At only 13 years old, Njoud Al Kubaisi is one of the region’s youngest sign language interpreters. Born to hearing-impaired parents, the remarkable Qatari communicator aspires to share the sounds of life with everyone and already has a large following on social media, with nearly 55,000 followers on Instagram.
How easy was it for you to learn sign language, and when did you start?
Like any other language, sign language takes dedication, patience, and practice to master. I began learning and practising very early to be able to communicate with my parents and sister.
How does it make you feel when you interpret things to people who are hearing impaired?
It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe. I feel privileged and fortunate to be able to act as a voice for the hearing impaired.
What advice would you give to other young people who were born to hearing-impaired parents?
My advice would be to be proud of everything they have accomplished. Children should take pride in being their parents’ ears and encourage those around them to learn sign language.
You were featured with your father in Qatar Financial Centre’s latest television commercial, which was part of their efforts to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the hearing impaired. How did you find this experience?
It was a very memorable experience. I was pleasantly surprised to see that QFC employees had all been given courses in sign language. Seeing this many people take an interest in sign language was definitely a touching and unforgettable experience.
You are also an honorary ambassador of Qatar Cancer Society. How did that come about?
I was approached and did not hesitate for a second to become their honorary ambassador. I am currently working with them to raise cancer awareness and encourage people to pursue a healthy lifestyle to prevent many diseases, including cancer.
What are you looking forward to in 2017?
I hope to continue to raise awareness for the hearing-impaired community and help their integration in society, something I also hope to do through QFC’s initiatives. In the end, I want to help the hearing-impaired community integrate more into mainstream society.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and with whom?
Turkey, of course! It’s always been my favourite destination, and I would love to go with my parents and sisters.