Meet Annabelle Xerri, Queen’s Young Leader 2016
Annabelle is a spokesperson for the Deaf community in her country. She is a board member of the Deaf People Association Malta and works with the authorities to ensure that deaf people have equal opportunities to enable them to live independently.
Annabelle has been deaf since the age of six and writes about her personal experiences in the media and on social media. Her motivation to become so involved in helping the Deaf community stems from her own experiences of losing her hearing at such a young age. She talks about what it means to be deaf “I can’t hear the rain on the window, but I like to feel it on my skin. I can’t hear the music but I like to dance, I know how to dance. I can’t hear you laugh but your smile tells me that you’re happy.
Annabelle gives motivational talks to students in schools and meets with local families to offer them advice and support. She motivates others to not let it discourage them from anything they want to do “I try to show them that deaf people can do anything, that there will be challenges that will not be easy but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.” Annabelle uses Maltese Sign Language and lip reading to attend conferences where she represents the Deaf community.
When talking about the Queen’s Young Leader’s programme, Annabelle is proud to be a representative of her communities and says “I’m very happy and proud to be a Queen’s Young Leader, and especially representing Malta and Gozo and also the deaf community.”
Annabelle is one of 2016’s recipients of a Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The Award, which was presented by Her Majesty The Queen in June, is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, and celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in the communities.
If you, or someone you know is doing exceptional work in your community, applications are now open for the Queen’s Young Leaders of 2017. Visit www.queensyoungleaders.com/apply-now