#SiblingPower- Deaf siblings Sophia Joe & Richard Joe are riding high on their dreams
Siblings Sophia Joe and Richard Joe were born deaf. Their biggest support system are their parents who stand by them through all odds. The siblings who are aspiring bike racers, are riding high on their dreams. Sophia and Richard has always been there for each other throughout all hardships in life. Their parents point out that the siblings are best friends who never leaves each other’s sides.
25 year old Sophia Joe and her 23 year old brother Richard Joe were born deaf. The siblings have ensured that their disability does not come as a barrier to chase their beautiful and colourful dreams. In spite of the many odds and obstacles, what keeps them going is the encouraging words and motivation from their parents. Moreover, Sophia and Richard helps each other to grow. Over the years, they have bonded to become best friends who know that they are there for each other always.
Both Sophia and Richard are pursuing their higher studies in Kochi, their hometown. Their father Joe Francis remembers how Sophia was excited when she met Richard for the first time soon after he was born. Since Sophia was diagnosed of a hearing impairment when she was hardly ten months old, Joe and his wife Goretti Joe ensured that Richard is also diagnosed very soon, a decision that the couple is proud of.
Joe, who was an ardent fan of cars and bikes always took his kids for a ride. When Richard grew up, he expressed his interest to become a biker. Soon enough, even Sophia wanted to join in. The siblings did not know the hardships that would follow. Being deaf in a society that lacks awareness about disabilities was the biggest obstacle to chasing their dreams. Sophia and Richard’s attempts to apply for a driver’s license was constantly denied by officials who even mocked the siblings and their father.
When we realised that our kids are deaf soon after birth, me and my wife had decided to empower and support them through all odds. Both Sophia and Richard wanted to get a driver’s license and become bike racers. When I took them for tests, they were constantly rejected. Officials mocked at us. It was not easy. There were incidents that broke my heart as a father. But we overcame all that and my kids emerged stronger-Joe Francis.
Sophia went on to become Kerala’s first deaf woman to get a driver’s license, thanks to her supportive family who did not back out until her dream was realised. Joe remembers the many harassments his kids have faced in the society. “Once my daughter asked me why they are being side-lined and neglected in the society just because they were deaf. She told me they are denied freedom to do what they love because of a disability. As a father, all this has shattered my heart into a million pieces”, says Joe.
They have a hundred reasons to feel dejected and low. But Joe and Goretti ensured that their kids look at the brighter side of life. They have very few friends but are really close to the ones that they have. Sophia and Richard shares everything about their lives to each other. “There are many things which they don’t want to discuss with us. But they do that with each other. There have been many incidents where I have felt proud about my kids. I know they are going to be there for each other”, says Joe.
The siblings are currently undergoing training for bike racing at Apex Racing Academy’s weekend classes at Coimbatore. Recently Richard fell ill and Sophia had to attend the session alone. “She was low the whole time. Usually, she is the one who is most excited to attend classes. That weekend she told me that she doesn’t want to do the coaching without Richard and we returned back home”, says Joe.
“More than siblings, they are best friends. Since they are there for each other, they find solutions for everything on their own. They have nothing to hide between each other. As a mother, I’am glad that they bonded so well”, says Goretti Joe.
Joe is currently struggling to make ends meet. Apart from Richard’s treatment expenses, he wants to ensure that his children come out as successful bike racers, a dream that the youngsters have been cherishing for long. Due to financial constraints, he is unable to support the siblings. The family is in the look-out for sponsors who can help them achieve their dreams.
You can contact Joe Francis at +91 98952-71132.