National Week of Deaf People: Tony's Story

After overcoming many challenges in his life, Tony Tran has found his feet again after some difficult times and is grateful for the support he has received from Expression Australia.

Tony experienced these life changing challenges, he was a normal deaf child growing up with a love for playing soccer. Eventually it was this passion that exposed him to the Deaf community and Auslan.

 “I love soccer," Tony said. "It’s my passion. I started playing when I was 5 years old at hearing clubs progressing all the way to the Victorian Institute of Sport. My club made a player profile of me and mentioned that I was deaf. A scout from Deaf Soccer then came out to watch me play and asked me to play for the Victorian Deaf team.”

The next thing Tony knew, he was representing Australia at the Deaflympic games in Melbourne in 2005. This was followed by a qualifying game for the world Deaf Football Championships in Greece in 2007 and again at the World Deaf Football Championships in Taipei in 2009. But then disaster struck.

Tony’s Mother got sick and he gave up everything to support his mother and his family business. Sadly, in 2012, Tony’s Mother passed away from her battle with cancer. She had wishes for Tony to reengage with the Deaf community and to find his place in the world.

With the support of Expression Employment, Tony found work as an Administration Assistant at Expression Australia, whilst also studying to complete a Certificate III in Business Administration. This gave Tony a great sense of achievement and reinvigorated him with purpose and direction after some tough times.

“I love working at Expression Australia because the organisation reflects my world – the Deaf community. I can communicate every day in my language of Auslan and I feel included. I don’t feel left out at all!”

Tony wants to continue to work for the Deaf community and in the future would like to mentor young, up and coming Deaf and hard of hearing soccer players so that Deaf soccer in Australia can flourish.

As Expression Australia celebrates National Week of Deaf People (23 – 29 September), Tony believes that this year’s theme, ‘With Sign Language, everyone is included’, is reflective of the Deaf community sharing our language and culture with all.

“We as Deaf people can be role models to the younger generations. Being Deaf means that we have access to unique and special language. We can communicate with each other and be confident with ourselves by being Deaf leaders in a hearing world.”

Thank you to Dilpreet, Yvonne and Alec from the Victorian College of the Deaf who interviewed Tony as part of their work experience at Expression Australia.

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