DeafWire Edition - 10 September 2022

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
Full DEAFWIRE videos can be seen


Airbnb host discriminated

A disabled woman, Jade, is a host on Airbnb, an online vacation rental marketplace. In a TikTok video, she said she has a doorbell with flashing lights and when the guests arrived at her home, they refused to touch the doorbell. The guests demanded Jade remove all disability aids from her home or that she leaves. Jade offered a refund but the guests refused because she didn’t warn them about her disability.

Airbnb replied to the host saying that she had two options, “One: no longer be disabled, no longer use a disabled doorbell…or, the second option is to fully refund the guests, let them stay here for free, and sincerely apologise for my disabled doorbell.” Jade said the TikTok escalation team told her not to publicly share any more updates about the situation.


First Deaf Barbie doll

Rose Ayling-Ellis, first Deaf contestant and winner of “Strictly Come Dancing”, shared that Mattel will release a Barbie doll with hearing aids. When Rose was a little girl, she would draw hearing aids on her dolls so they would look like her. The United Kingdom sells a variety of inclusive dolls – Barbie with a prosthetic limb, another in a wheelchair, and a Ken doll with vitiligo.

The Deaf Barbie dolls were released on August 18th. Mattel, Inc. said the Barbie brand believes in the power of representation and they are committed to continuing to introduce dolls that reflect the diversity kids see around the world. The company also mentioned the importance of encouraging children to play with dolls that don’t resemble them to help them celebrate inclusion.


Deaf sports receives funding

In Uganda, the Maskaka School for the Deaf’s football and netball players are preparing for an upcoming national tournament. The school’s sports department received 8 million shillings (around $2,000 USD) in donations. The school opened its doors in 2005 and provides primary school education to 122 Deaf students.

The school focuses on one activity per year due to financial limitations. This year, they are pritorising the football and netball teams. ICEA LION Assurance Company Ltd donated new shoes and socks. They’ve been supporting the school since 2018 because they believe such activities boost children’s confidence and the donor believes in their talent.


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132 years of the British Deaf Association

The British Deaf Association, BDA, celebrated their 132nd anniversary on July 24th. In 1980, Francis Maginn founded the BDA in Leeds under the name of The British Deaf and Dumb Association, BDDA. In 1971, BDAA removed the word “Dumb” from its name. 

BDA works directly with Deaf BSL users, promoting and protecting British Sign Language, campaigning for equal rights on a national level, and they empower Deaf people to achieve access to their local public services. In celebration of BDA’s 132nd anniversary, they asked their supporters to run, walk, or dance for 132 minutes, climb 132 steps, bake 132 biscuits, or fingerspell the alphabet backwards 132 times.


Deaf businesspeople improving accessibility

Wissam Alli, a Deaf businessman from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, said growing up in the hearing world was difficult but used that as a motivation to start a business to improve accessibility for the Deaf community. Wissam and his business partner, Ahmed Yahya, created an educational platform that helps Deaf people improve their technological skills.

Wissam believes that coding is an essential skill and wants to get Deaf children familiarised with programming. His business will provide different levels of courses suited for beginners, intermediates, and advanced learners. Wissam and Ahmed are currently in the process of opening an office in Jumeirah Lake Towers in Dubai.


Deaf people face unemployment &  Deaf woman shares story

The Deaf association in South Africa is concerned that over 70% of Deaf people of the population are unemployed. They decided to contact hearing companies to ask them to hire Deaf people and trained them how to accommodate Deaf people into their workplaces. Many Deaf people lack education which creates barriers. The Deaf association wants the hearing community to stop demeaning Deaf people and provide them with opportunities. 

In Congo, a Deaf woman, Kerean Miygolo, had a difficult life because of the war. Growing up, she always kept to herself, however her teacher recognised her ability to write and encouraged her to write poetry. She wrote a poem, describing how repressed her life has been in Congo and was applauded for sharing her life with the public.

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