DeafWire Edition – 4 June 2022

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
Full DEAFWIRE videos can be seen


Deaf face barriers to getting a license

Deaf Germans have been able to get their driver’s license since the 1950s. It was quickly established that they are very good drivers because there’s no noise distractions. However, Deaf people have to get a certificate that proves they are “physically fit” to drive a vehicle. 

The driver’s license theory test consists of multiple choice questions. For those who aren’t fluent in German, this can be a barrier. Deaf people have to pay for their own sign language interpreter which costs EUR 75.00 per hour; medical examination certificates cost up to EUR 600.00. The German Deaf community feel this contradicts the UN Disability Rights Convention and that insurance should take care of the costs.


Deaf couples outlawed

A village in Ghana, Adamobore, only 3% of its population are Deaf. In 1975, a decree banned Deaf people from marrying each other to prevent Deaf offsprings. One day, a Deaf woman was selling food in the village and suddenly threw up; a male relative realised she was pregnant and almost started hitting her because he thought a Deaf man was the father.

Now, the ban has been lifted. A team from the Ghana University is studying the village to learn more about how hereditary Deafness works and to remove the myth of Deaf people being cursed.


Outrage over hiring a hearing person

On April 25th, The Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) announced Richard Belzile as the new Executive Director. He did a lot of advocacy work for people with disabilities. The Deaf community expressed anger, confusion, and frustration because it is unclear if he is Deaf, hearing, or late-deafened.

A Deaf advocate, Alvin Witcher, said that when a Deaf organisation or agency hires a hearing person, it sends the wrong message that there are o qualified and capable Deaf Candidates. DeafDots, one of H3 World TV’s programs, contacted Richard for comments. He said that he would be “forwarding media requests to the Board.”

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Member of Parliament demands support

Shirly Pinto, a 33 year old Deaf woman became Israel’s first Deaf lawmaker in 2019, representing 18.8 million of Israelians with disabilities. She uses Israeli Sign Language to communicate and uses an interpreter. She brought in all the issues related to people with disabilities and forced the government to take notice after years of nodding and ignoring them. 

Pinto threatened to take action against the government if they didn’t include disabled people in their budget. She is working on resolving issues related to incoming missiles because Deaf people can’t hear the warning siren and the app that’s supposed to alert them failed to alert right away, putting Deaf people’s lives at risk. Pinto is determined to change the future for the next generation.


MMA fighter secures sponsorship deal

A 27-year-old London-born Deaf MMA fighter Thomas Paull secured his first sponsorship deal with Another Round, the Personal Training membership subscription. Max Cotton, CEO of Another Round and former pro-MMA fighter said he rarely has seen anyone train with the same intensity as Paull and thinks he will make big waves globally.

Thomas learned how to fight as a kid to defend himself against bullies who picked on him because of his deafness. He said his fighting will do all the talking in the ring and that’s where he will earn some respect. He hopes to join the UFC and fight Connor McGregor and Paddy Pimblett. Thomas is currently ranked within the Top 10 Pro Men’s Lightweight Fighters in Europe.


Eurovision songs translated into sign 

Jari Pärgma, a member of the Board of the Estonian Sign Language Society and translator of Estonian Sign Language watched the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005 and there was no sign language translation. In 2014, they provided sign language translation for songs only, not commentary. The show still wasn’t fully accessible.

For years, Jari emailed the Estonian Public Broadcasting – ERR -requesting the show to provide signed translations but never heard back. He decided to bring the issues to Twitter and a show called “Being. ERR finally responded and Jari gathered 20 volunteer interpreters to create music videos with sign language translation. ERR realised the project was popular, so they made it fully accessible.


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