A pupil at a Norfolk independent school is celebrating her inclusion in the Women of the World (WOW) Young Leaders Directory 2022, published today (11 October).
Paris Thompson, a sixth former at Norwich High School for Girls, is being honoured by the gender equality charity for her efforts in advocating for issues around deafness.
Deaf herself, Paris has delivered many speeches on the issue, and helped raise more than £11 million for the Sight and Sound centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which helps support deaf and/or blind children.
She was nominated for the WOW directory by her school, where she has helped raise deaf awareness by teaching year groups and advising teachers.
An accomplished actor, poet and lyricist, Paris has also appeared in a film about Rose Ayling-Ellis, the deaf star of Eastenders and performer of, arguably, Strictly Come Dancing’s most celebrated moment.
Read about the world around you – be prepared to change – Paris Thompson
“I feel incredibly honoured to be listed in the WOW Young Leaders Directory,” said Paris. “I’ve worked hard to spread awareness about hidden disabilities like deafness, which enables people to support those around them.”
The directory – published annually to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl – celebrates the campaigning work of female and non-binary young people from around the world.
Among Paris’ fellow listees are Mabel Alie, a 19-year-old student and business owner who mentors girls trying to escape the culture of FGM and early marriage in Sierra Leone, and Aeshnina Azzahra Arisandi, a 15-year-old Indonesian environmental activist trying to stop the transport of waste from Europe to the global south.
Paris’ entry in the directory advises people to: “First of all, be aware of the people around you, and what they need. Be active in what you learn, engage, and be willing to help and practice what you learn. Read about the world around you – be prepared to change. Change is good! Protest is hopeful. We will always lead to better things in the future!”
She is currently in her final year at Norwich High School for Girls, studying A-levels in drama, English literature and geography.
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“Paris is a fantastic ambassador for deaf awareness and for Norwich High,” said the school’s director of sixth form, Hazel Packer.
“She is a well-loved member of upper six who is always looking for ways to better her community. Alongside another pupil she started a signing choir which performed at the Norfolk deaf festival this summer.
“Last Christmas, they taught their tutor group how to sign a Christmas carol, which they then performed for the entire school in our end-of-term assembly. It was so moving, and it epitomised the inclusion and innovation that we’ve come to expect from Paris.
“We couldn’t be prouder of her for being included in the Women of the World Young Leaders Directory.”