My name is Ayodele Rebecca Olatunji. I am a Social Entrepreneur, Deaf Advocate and a Sign Language Tutor/ Interpreter. My life goal has been about making positive impact, and creating a better inclusive society for every deaf person in my home country, Nigeria.
Why this passion?
I grew up seeing the everyday struggle of a deaf person, which was usually accompanied by a high level of social stigma, and this is because I am a CODA (Child of the Deaf Adult). Yes, both my parents are deaf and I have a younger sister who became deaf due to early complications and a late detection. I learnt the Sign language as a child from my parents and I grew up helping to bridge the communication gap most time for my parents. I wasn’t always proud of using the Sign language especially in open spaces or at social functions, this was due to the stares or the pitiful look I would normally get from passer-bys’ or people around. This really affected my self esteem as well as my relationship with my sister, until the day she confronted and asked me, why I was embarrassed by her and our parent's difference? Her many questions shaped my life, and from that day I made up my mind to do better and change the “Why”.
CODAH Enterprise became a reality right after my volunteering journey with Voluntary Service Overseas and ever since, creating a world where being Deaf is no longer seen as a limitation but rather as a different culture has been my number one life goal.
I am the founder of CODAH Enterprise, where I work to promote the linguistic identity of the Deaf community and foster their inclusion in the society.