DeafWire Edition – 9 July 2022

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
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Hearing leader of Deaf Centre resigns

Greg Kellison has recently stepped down from his role as Executive Director of Deaf Services Centre in Worthington because of the organisation’s toxic culture and back-stabbing staff members. In March this year, many Deaf people went to the office to protest against Kellison’s hiring since he refuses to learn sign language or meet the community; they wanted a leader who knows sign language and is from the Deaf community.

Before Kellison became the Executive Director, he was the CEO and board’s assistant, focusing on growing revenue and stability of the organisation. He resigned only after four months on June 30, 2022. His resignation letter stated, “ no amount of financial finesse or managerial leadership can fix an agency determined to do itself in. The culture is toxic, many of the staff are petty and vicious, and no amount of financial or managerial leadership can fix the culture”


Deaf Association damaged

The charity office of the Cumbria Deaf Association in England has been damaged by intruders who threw rocks into the window, broke the metal shutter into pieces, kicked in doors, and attempted to burn it down. Additionally, computer equipment was stolen, and rooms that they had rented out now cannot be rented out due to the damage, which will cause a loss of income. 

Caroline Howsley, the General Manager, said “ “You can imagine our shock and disbelief that someone would go to so much effort to break in and cause so much damage. We are insured, however, that doesn’t cover the emotional cost to our staff and Deaf community, many of whom consider the Kendal centre their second home”. The association is working to recover from this setback.


Defrauding Blind & Deaf Society

Ruvanya Ramiah and her husband Ayush Rambally were found guilty of fraud and theft charges after they stole a total amount of R13 million – almost $800,000 USD. Ruvanya was a financial officer at the Deaf and Blind Society from March 2012 to February 2019. She had access and control to the society’s bank accounts; some of her duties included paying salaries and general payments.

Ruvanya would pay herself large amounts of money from time to time, sometimes twice a month. She was accused of making fake payments to suppliers and created fake receipts, but the money was going to her husband’s account. At court, Ayush admitted he knew his wife was breaking the law and he took the money anyway. The fraud case was sent for review which will take place on the 4th of August. Until then, the couple will stay in custody.


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Soccer player supports Deaf school

A 28-year-old Dutch soccer superstar, Memphis Depay, recently went on a vacation in Ghana. While vacationing, he helped with renovating the bathroom facilities at the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind. He also donated sporting equipment and other items to the Deaf students. 

He created the Memphis foundation to provide support for Deaf and blind children and to establish more schools for them. Memphis Foundation says on their website that they picture a world in which Deaf and blind young people can fully participate and are completely welcome in their community, where they can show their talents and dream their dreams. Memphis’s connection to Ghanda is through his father, who was born there.


Protest for equal participation

In Germany, Deaf people still face barriers in employment, study, equal access, and political participation. Steffen Helbing, a Deaf German politician, and his fellow campaigners protested for more inclusion and participation in front of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament. He said that according to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Deaf community should receive equal participation in society and that German Sign Language should become a recognized language.

Multiple protests by Deaf Germans fighting for their fights include 10,000 Deaf people protesting in 2013 in Berlin, in front of the Federal Parliament. In 2021, one man participated in a hunger strike for almost a week – he sat outside his tent in front of the Federal Chancellery throughout the duration of his protest.


Petition for closed captions

Hope Cotton, a 17-year-old student activist from New Zealand, started a petition to get media companies include closed captions on videos. There are 880,000 New Zealanders with hearing loss who are struggling with inaccessibility. Hope said captions should include transcription of dialogue, sound effects, and any other important audio information.

When the “Dancing with the Stars” finale was advertised, it stated that the episode would be captioned, unfortunately it wasn’t. Hope and her family were disappointed; she ended up reading a book instead. New Zealand is one of the few countries where closed captioning is not required. Hope has gathered more than 500 signatures for her petition so far.

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