Sabah Deaf Student Won Global Recognition

KENINGAU: Jane Christine Justine, a learner with special needs who only communicates through sign language due to hearing impairment, has been recognized by Special Education Network and Inclusion Association (SENIA) for her contribution in using sign language in project presentation.

SENIA announced her as the recipient of “World Changer Award” on its website on 4th January 2021. Throughout 2020, she led her team from Keningau Vocational College, in participating at various innovation competitions in which they proposed a vegan food product as their solution to the detrimental effects of overconsumption of meat products.

While two of them spoke in English in their presentation, Jane Christine, along with another special need team member who could speak verbally, used sign language to explain their “Vegan Nugget”.

The video to their presentation can be accessed via this link:

The team which comprised two students of culinary arts, Chrisvee Neville Juhulis and Cerlye Saidin, and two students from special education unit, Jisa Bacxter and Jane Christine were mentored by Mr. Kan Fook Keong, a special education teacher.

They have experimented with various ingredients to produce nuggets that were made of plants yet had the taste and texture of meat when fried.

They finally decided to use tofu as the meat substitute for their vegan nuggets.

Their objective was to reduce the excessive dietary intake of animal meat which has significantly harmed the environment through poor farming practices and perpetuated animal captivity and cruelty.

They also wanted to promote a healthier lifestyle by encouraging people to consume more plant-based food.

They have won innovation medals at Festival for Change (UK), eCarnival Research & Innovation (Kelantan) and Young Inventors Challenge (Selangor) which were hosted virtually and remotely by the respective organizers.

The team was also a global finalist for Youth Solution Report organized by an association under the United Nation.

Jane’s capability to lead a team in several innovation competitions where she presented her part in sign language has broken another barrier for special needs individuals.

Individuals with disabilities were often excluded from many activities that were usually reserved for “normal” learners. Mr. Johari @ Jaibet Sabin, the director of the college, expressed his pride in the team’s achievement which was a significant step in revolutionizing special need education and changing public perspectives on individuals with disabilities.

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