DeafWire Edition – 23 December 2023

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
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VFS Global's sign language contact center

VFS Global, an India-based visa service, opened a sign language contact center in the Middle East to help Deaf and Hard-of-hearing travelers receive important information about visas. Atul Marwah, the person in charge of operations in the Middle East and North Africa for VFS Global, is excited about this new service. In 2018, VFS Global developed a chatbot called Viva to help people in 175 countries. The company wants to make its services more accessible to everyone, and this new sign language service is part of that.


Opportunities for Deaf

The Natal Deaf Blind Association in Durban has started a sewing project for many Deaf individuals who stay at home and struggle to find work. During the 12-week initiative, participants enroll in a sewing project for free in order to learn how to sew and operate a sewing machine. The association collaborates with the company and invents the idea to do the sewing, and after the course, they are able to set up their own business based on the training they have received. One individual was inspired; she did not know how to sew but is now glad to have the opportunity to learn how to use a sewing machine thanks to modern technology.


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Skating Sport

Uganda collaborated with the French embassy in developing an ice skating initiative for Deaf people that does not use shoes but rather a skateboard. The goal is to promote the lives of Deaf people through skateboarding so that they can have a good time. They were instructed and inspired to participate in this sport. The deaf population in Uganda was pleased, and they enjoyed being together, and this is similar to them earning money for participating in this sport. They intend to incorporate this sport into the Deaf Olympic Games in order to gain recognition for the sport they play there.

The Old Fogeys

See this week’s cartoon.

THE OLD FOGEYS – View cartoon


Officer learns sign language for Deaf victims

Captain Khomotso Malueke is a forensic social worker in the family violence, child protection, and sexual investigations unit at the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Mpumalanga. She has made an impact in fighting against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) in Mpumalanga. One day, Captain Maluleke faced a challenge when trying to help a Deaf victim at a police station to report a case of house robbery and assault. Communication proved difficult, highlighting the need for better understanding and support for the Deaf community to receive the help Captain Maluleke decided to learn sign language and is committed to inclusivity and understanding the needs of the Deaf community. She aims to ensure that Deaf people who have experienced GBVF can express their experiences and access the support they require. She has successfully put at least 13 people behind bars sexual assault, child neglect, and assault causing grievous bodily harm while and the imprisonment of two offenders for life due to rape. Captain Maluleke is now in her final year of studying sign language and aims to continue helping Deaf communities feel safe and supported.


Deaf students in climate-smart farming

At the Caribbean Christian Center for the Deaf (CCCD) in Knowpatrick, Manchester, students, teachers, and staff plant, water, weed, and care for animals. They grow beans, squash, and vegetables as part of a program teaching about nutrition and sustainable living. Because of COVID-19, CCCD had money problems with fewer donations, and they also had issues with a lack of water rain, especially with Jamaica’s drought making it worse. CCCD decided to use its land to grow more own food using climate-smart farming techniques with the help of the Jamaica Red Cross (JRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The school, spanning over 70 acres, had a non-functional water catchment system installed in the 1960s. The JRC worked with a local company to install solar water pumps and big tanks to store more water.

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