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DeafWire Edition – 6 August 2022

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
Full DEAFWIRE videos can be seen


Issues accessing health care

There’s not enough Deaf awareness for Deaf patients according to a report on the Canadian health care system. There are approximately 357,000 Deaf people in Canada in addition to 3.2 million who are hard-of-hearing. Nicole Cusick conducted a survey and found that many healthcare professionals don’t know how to properly communicate with Deaf patients.

Nicole explained that the communication and attitudes of health care providers were dismissive and discriminatory. A participant in the survey shared that they went in for surgery and when they woke up in pain, without their hearing aids, they couldn’t communicate and felt anxious – the patient ended up being labelled as aggressive and was sedated instead of having their concerns addressed.


Signing cafe

There are more than 2 million Deaf people in Vietnam. Kymviet cafe is a coffee shop that has Deaf staff and hearing customers must use sign language to order from the menu. The purpose of the cafe is to connect the bridge between Deaf and hearing people. Trần Ngọc Mai, a Kymviet employee of 2 and a half years, is grateful for their customers’ positive responses.

The menus have signing symbols and every drink on the menu has detailed signing pictures with expressions to help customers make their orders. Kymviet cafe currently has eight Deaf employees. Kymviet is a coffee shop chain and they have three additional cafes in different locations – they are looking to expand to other big cities to give more work opportunities for Deaf people living there.


Petition for a new school

The parents of Deaf students at Thomasson Memorial School in Bolton, England are petitioning the council to build a new school. The current building is more than 100 years old; there are narrow corridors and small rooms. This year, the school closed after a leak that caused significant water damage. A new or improved building would provide Deaf students with better facilities – bigger playground, better play equipment, and big classrooms with more space and light.

Hazel Badjie, one of the petitioners, explained the importance of this investment – Deaf children already fall behind at every stage at school due to limited support and a new school building would make a big difference for them. The school thanked families, students, and staff for their patience and said the repair work at school is progressing well and remains on track for a September completion.


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Fighting for children's rights

In Kenya, parents of Deaf children set up an organisation called “Community Based Organisation”, CBO, to support parents in their fight for their children’s rights, including in education and health care. They are pushing for a secondary school to be built for post-primary educational needs and for all Deaf children to have access to Deaf education and job opportunities. 

Currently, there aren’t any full-fledged public secondary schools for Deaf students, so they have to travel long distances to attend other schools. Daniel Anyazwa and Stella Habela, who are parents of four Deaf students, said it affects their financial situation by sending their children to schools far away. Statistics say there are 200,000 Deaf children who only reach 10% their education potential.


Representation of Deaf Māori

A Māori Deaf filmmaker, Jared Flitcroft, is paving the way for awareness of Māori Deaf people (Indigenous people of New Zealand). He hopes to create a TV series entirely in New Zealand Sign Language, spotlighting Deaf Māori since it’s rare to see them in mainstream media. 

Jared has won national and international awards for his short film, “Tama”. The film is about a young Māori boy confronting his drunk-driving father through a Māori dance called haka, gaining his respect. Jared said he still faces barriers in the film industry as he finds it challenging working with other Māori filmmakers. New Zealand Sign Language interpreters aren’t qualified to interpret Teo Reo Māori [the Māori language].


Rechargeable batteries & Sign language becomes official

In Botswana, hearing aid batteries are expensive to replace. Tendeknayi Katsiga, owner of Deaftronic, a company that provides hearing support services, invented rechargeable batteries using a solar power device. Batteries cost $1 each. Tendeknayi applied for and received funding to build the solar ear unit which is less expensive since it can recharge batteries and can be used for two years.

In South Africa, the potential of South African Sign Language, SASL, becoming an official language thrilled the Deaf community. The gazetted amendment – “Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill 2022” – is set to change section 6 of the Constitution to provide for the legal recognition of SASL. There are 11 official languages in Section 6, SASL would be the 12th. The amendment was approved on May 26th. The Deaf community are hoping that it will soon become an official language.

This DeafWire EDITION is presented by H3 World TV, an international Deaf media organization producing TV programs in International Sign (IS).

H3 Network Media Alliance
Toronto, Canada

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