DeafWire Edition – 15 July 2023

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
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"World's Largest Community Without a Country"

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) estimates the global Deaf population to be around 70 million. The World Health Organization says 430 million people worldwide have some level of hearing loss. Most people in this group are those who slowly lose their hearing as they become older. 80% of them live in low and middle-income countries and can’t afford hearing aids. If these 70 million people had their own country, with the ability to create a complete linguistic and cultural community, it would be the 20th largest country in the world – smaller than Germany, larger than Thailand. It could easily support large cities of over 1 million Deaf people. It can be argued that the world’s Deaf population is the largest community on the planet without its own country.


Funding for Deaf culture study

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in New York received $35,000 to send students and faculty to Dubrovnik, Croatia for a four-week intensive program titled European Deaf Culture: A Pilot Program in Community Engaged Learning. This program is funded by the US State Department and the Pilot programs are intended to test ideas. During the program, students are exposed to European Deaf cultures – local sign languages, regional history, and Deaf education practices. They will connect with local leaders and advocates to learn about local policies and strategies for social acceptance and integration. Students will also visit important history sites and visit regional schools and organizations.


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* Regional Reporter: Asia – remote
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* DeafGPS Researcher & Program Host – remote



Deaf organization receives recognition

Deaf Reach, an organization in Rabat, Morocco was awarded the Hamdan-ICESCO Prize for Voluntary Development of Education Facilities in the Islamic world. The award is given to people and organizations that excel in leading charitable and voluntary education programs. Deaf education is limited in Pakistan, so Deaf Reach is one of the only educational choices for Pakistan’s rural and urban Deaf community. Deaf Reach provides education and skills training for Deaf children and youth, training for teachers and interpreters, Pakistan Sign Language programs for parents and communities, advocacy, job placement, and creating Deaf-related educational resources. The award was presented to Deaf Reach founder and director Richard Geary who has lived in Pakistan for over 30 years.


Deaf women share about their country

Sharon Mulenga and Klizzie talk about Deaf life in their country. If there is an event, we invite all of our Deaf friends and we all come together to ensure that everyone benefits. All Deaf women who have good education also have a good job. The government uses sign language, for example on TV. There are interpreters on TV. At the same time, we do have challenges. Many old people and some Deaf people cannot get a job to earn money and empower themselves. We in Zambia are working hard to uplift the lives of Deaf women by providing them with grants to help them start a business or undergo training to get employed. There is also free education that greatly benefits the Deaf community and we tried to encourage Deaf people to go Deaf schools to develop their language skills, including writing and reading.

The Old Fogeys

See this week’s cartoon.

THE OLD FOGEYS – View cartoon


Over 200 people learn Zimbabwean Sign Language

An organization named Alaso is responsible for promoting indigenous languages used in indigenous communities – whether spoken or signed. Recently they organized a gathering at a church where 200 people gathered to learn sign language. The reason they organized this is because they know that many people want to learn different languages. So they established language classes to teach Tsonga, Swazi, French, German, Chinese, and Zimbabwe Sign Language. People can go online and choose which language they would like to learn. The organization noticed that Deaf people were facing communication and language barriers so they set up this course to teach 200 people sign language since 2021.

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