DeafWire Edition – 13 January 2024

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
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First Deaf cafe to open in Dublin

Mad Brothers Café, the first Deaf Café using Irish Sign Language (ISL), was officially opened in Dublin, Ireland on November 29th. After two years of managing Mad Brothers Café in Castleknock, the owners decided to open a second location at Deaf Village Ireland (DVI). The opening was highly welcomed by the Deaf community in Dublin, which has around 4,500 members. The café provides a space for the Deaf community to connect, socialize, find employment opportunities, share experiences, and express their cultural identity. Customers at the café can order tea and coffee using ISL or assisted touch screen interactive technology to learn ISL and join in the conversation.


Deaf advocate for sign language in airline

In 2017, members of Deaf Action New Zealand (Deaf Action NZ) wrote to Air New Zealand (Air NZ)'s CEO, Christopher Luxon, expressing concerns about access issues faced by Deaf travelers during flights. Kim Robinson, the Deaf Action NZ spokesperson, highlighted the importance of addressing these concerns, as they had a meaningful impact on the daily lives and safety information access of the Deaf community across the country. Some of the concerns included the small size of the captions on safety videos, the absence of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) in videos, and a $10 charge for captioned movies on domestic flights. Despite waiving the charges, Air NZ did not take steps to address the other issues. In 2018, Deaf Action NZ requested NZSL interpreters in Air NZ's videos, to which the airline responded that they couldn't do so due to space limitations. DANZ submitted a petition to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to include NZSL in safety videos, but the CAA declined the request. Later, the Chief Ombudsman of New Zealand, Peter Boshier, found that the CAA made an unreasonable decision by not including NZSL in the airline safety video. The CAA violated the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which protects and promotes the rights of disabled people by providing reasonable accommodation and access to information. Boshier recommended that the CAA issue an apology to Deaf Action NZ and prioritize the development of guidance for the airline industry to enhance the accessibility of safety messages. The CAA accepted and apologized to Deaf Action NZ. 


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Holiday events for the Deaf

There have been many Deaf-led holiday events around the world In China, a hotel operator collaborated with several organizations to host a Christmas cupcake workshop for 16 Deaf primary school children. Charlotte Law Ho-ching, a ten-year-old, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to communicate with others during the holidays with the help of hearing aids and a sign language interpreter. In the USA, around 150 Deaf, Deaf-blind, and Hard-of-Hearing students from Hawaii and neighboring islands visited a signing Santa at Pearlridge Center Mauaka in Aiea. This holiday event allowed Deaf children to share their Christmas wishes with Santa using American Sign Language (ASL). 

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