DeafWire Edition – 20 August 2022

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
Full DEAFWIRE videos can be seen

United States of America:

Deaf motorcyclist receives $3 million

Gregory O’Connell, an American Deaf motorcyclist, was injured after a truck collided with his motorcycle in 2018; he had a broken leg that required many surgeries and a punctured lung. Gregory sued the trucking company for $20 million; however, the company disagreed and said $750,000 would be sufficient.

Bob Simon, one of Gregory’s lawyers, said the trucking company initially offered $50,000 to close the case then later offered $1.6 million before the trial. The jury in California listened to both sides, heard testimonies from experts, and analysed evidence before deciding to award Gregory $3 million. 


£16,000 stolen from DeafBlind man

Lewis Roles, a 32-year-old caregiver from Norfolk, England was arrested for stealing more than a total of £16,283.30 from his 74-year-old client between June and September 2021. The client is Deaf and Blind with limited mobility. 

The client trusted Lewis with his bank account PIN number. When the client expressed concern that his account balance was going down, Lewis helped him change his PIN number; and afterward, Lewis would creep into the client’s bedroom while he was in bed to misuse his bank cards. The court sentenced Lewis to prison for 20 months.


No interpreter access for five days

Patsy Palmer, a 60-year-old Deaf woman was in the Royal Free Hospital in London, England for six days without a sign language interpreter. She had no way of communicating with doctors, nurses, or anyone; and she had no access to information about what’s happening to her, her health, or her treatment. 

On her second day at the hospital, a remote interpreter was booked but a weak internet connection caused the video feed to freeze. On Patsy’s last day there, she was supposed to have a meeting with the medical staff, but the interpreting company said bookings must be made two weeks in advance. Patsy’s daughter said this is a breach of basic human rights.


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Accessible World Cup 2022

An Israeli start-up company, “Sign Now” is aiming to make the FIFA World Cup 2022 accessible to the Deaf community. The company became widely known after providing sign language interpreters for the Eurovision Song Contest. Sign Now has evolved into an app that connects Deaf people to sign language interpreters. The app offers a variety of video call options and is free for the Deaf community.

Tomer Levy, the CEO and founder of Sign Now, said they want to help Deaf people to be a part of society. Accessibility will be provided for thousands of people attending Qatar from all over the world and about 50 million Deaf people watching the World Cup on TV. Currently, the company is helping Deaf Ukrainian refugees.


Handmade soap business

Jessica Rodriguez, a Deaf woman from Puerto Rico, owns a business named JeZoe, which offers all-natural beauty, cosmetics, and personal care products. JeZoe specialises in handmade soaps. They have a wide variety of products to fit each individual person’s skin needs.

Before opening JeZoe, Jessica took classes to learn how to make soaps, lotions, and lip balms; there were no sign language interpreters and she had to make do with writing, gesturing, and visual aids. After a successful booth sales at Gallaudet University, she decided to create an Etsy shop. Jessica said her goal is to teach Deaf young people about business and to foster confidence.


Deaf development program faces cuts

The only organisation in Cambodia that serves the general needs of the Deaf population suffered from funding cuts and had to let go of 11 staff members. Starting in 1997, the Deaf Development Programme, DDP, set up three centres to work with Deaf people and their families to assist them with integrating into society and achieving independence.

There are more than 51,000 Deaf people in Cambodia. DPP’s mission is to empower Deaf people to develop education, language, employment, and their community. One of the co-directors of DPP said there are prejudice and discrimination toward the Deaf community and that there is almost no help from the government.

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