The Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment awarded the first deaf winner, Mr. Dario Nightengale, at the Barbados National Youth Awards held at the Frank Collymore Hall. Nightengale was the recipient of the Challenge Award presented to an individual who is ‘differently abled and has demonstrated perseverance and success in education, community service, employment, sports or the visual arts’.
The young creative was nominated by local deaf empowerment charity, The Deaf Heart Project (DHP), for his work as a deaf videographer who uses his talents to create content to keep the local Deaf community informed of current events as well as prepared for emergency situations. Dario is the owner of DScope, a videography company focused on producing full-length documentaries and short videos aimed at highlighting the strengths and challenges of the Deaf in Barbados. Through DScope, Dario has created several memorial pieces of deaf persons, interviewed and posted videos highlighting deaf business owners, raised the public’s awareness about the community’s challenges and successes, and produced videos of Bajan Sign Language to help preserve the Language.
Dario has also worked with many local and international organisations to promote Deaf Awareness including the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD), The Barbados Horizon Deaf Charity (BHDC), The Calypso Project (UK) and The Deaf Heart Project (DHP). He was also selected as a member of the Fully Accessible Barbados (FAB) programme through which he earned a videography internship at CBC TV.
When asked how he felt to receive the award Dario shared “When my name was called, I was wondering if they called the right name, my heart was beating. I was happy and humbled to be the first Deaf person to receive the National Youth Award.” Deaf Heart Project Director Maude White was overjoyed that a fellow Deaf person was awarded at such a prestigious national event. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that Dario won! He is so deserving, and it is also great that his wife Joy, who is his constant support, was also there to witness. Well done, Dario!”
Dario is not shy about encouraging and promoting deaf ability. He can often be found encouraging members of the community to be brave and make the steps needed to start, improve and promote their businesses. Dario states “Deaf people can do anything. I would love for there to be a Barbados Deaf Expo & Flea Market, an improved education system for the Deaf and to see Bajan Sign Language recognised locally as an official Language. I would also like to see hearing persons show greater respect towards the Deaf and I encourage the Deaf community to support one another and be successful.”
Founder/Chairman of the Deaf Heart Project, Ché Greenidge, congratulated the Ministry for their progressive steps towards inclusion and visibility of the Disabled community, “It is always pleasing to see the Deaf recognised for their meaningful contribution and I applaud the Ministry of Youth for acknowledging that they are also deserving of national recognition, alongside other young activists across the island.”
The Deaf Heart Project also thanked the interpreter, Kayleen Bangura, for providing excellent services for Dario on the awards night.