1758. Tyrese Dibba
Tyrese Dibba, aged 16, from Birmingham, is a deaf schoolboy who created 'Mr Tyrese', online tutorials teaching British Sign Language to thousands of people.
Tyrese was born with CHARGE Syndrome, a rare and complex genetic disorder which can affect many areas of the body including sight and hearing – as well as being deaf, he only has sight in one eye and experiences heart issues. When the charity ‘Sense’ was looking for a new teacher to front its free online BSL lessons, Tyrese volunteered and proved a winner with audiences at home during lockdown, amassing over 80,000 views on YouTube. The videos were released as part of the ‘Sense Sign School’ campaign to coincide with the first lockdown, not only working to tackle loneliness and isolation among people with disabilities, but to help everyone learn a new skill while we were told to stay at home. Students who signed up received a new BSL video starring Tyrese every day for five days, covering some of his favourite subjects like family, food and entertainment.
In a personal letter to Tyrese, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I am lost in admiration for how you have shared the gift of sign language with so many other young people with your fantastic ‘Mr Tyrese’ classes.
“I know how tough being locked down during the pandemic was for young people and so your online classes were a brilliant way of keeping deaf young people connected.”
In response to receiving the award, Tyrese said:
“I’m happy so many people wanted to learn some basic Sign Language. I’m a bit surprised to be recognised for my work by the Prime Minister.”