DeafWire Edition – 9 September 2023

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
Full DEAFWIRE videos can be seen


Barriers to learning sign

In Northern Ireland, a hearing mother of a Deaf baby, Janice, is determined to learn BSL to communicate with her son – but there are no affordable options nearby to learn. There are generally two kinds of sign language courses – those run by local charities and another set by private classroom courses. Private classes are usually offered in the evening and are expensive. Charity-operated courses struggle to find money to support their courses, and currently donations are low, with some programs closing out. Yet on the other hand, 10-month-old Mason has hearing aids and is scheduled for a cochlear implant. Janice is not confident the implant will give Mason full access to language, so she remains intent on learning to sign and teaching it to Mason. But she remains frustrated with the lack of local resources and points out that hearing children are given access to schools and spoken language, but that same access isn’t available for deaf children who aren’t exposed to BSL at home and school.


Sign Language Apps Created in Serbia

Code for a Cause is a movement that encourages computer programmers to help community development projects. Starting with this idea, UNICEF in Serbia supported building a Serbian Sign Language mobile phone app. Unicef partnered with the Elder Creative Agency, the Belgrade Organization of the Deaf and Vega IT software development to design an app that gives Deaf Serbian children early access to language. This is a helpful tool in a world where many hearing parents of Deaf children do not learn to sign and the child may live in an area with little to no sign language access. The app provides children with another way to learn language early. The app is free and available for Apple and Android phones.

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Interpreters for Independence Day

Deaf citizens in the state of Punjab celebrated a win with interpreting access for a local leader’s Independence Day speech. With about 300,000 Deaf people in the region, Patiala Association of the Deaf president Jagdip Singh hailed it as “a big step toward accessibility for us.” Singh now works with the state advisory board of the Department of Social Security and Women and Child Development with the goal to organize a state association of the deaf.

The Old Fogeys

See this week’s cartoon.

THE OLD FOGEYS – View cartoon


Deaf mental health support

The Centre for Deaf Studies has taken a big step to help the Deaf community. There’s been a problem where Deaf people do not get good access to counselors who understand them and get help with their feelings. They started the SafeSpace program and chose three Deaf people who really wanted to help. These three people learned how to be good counselors by taking the LifeLine Counseling Course which taught how to talk to people and help them feel better. After many months of hard work, these three people became certified Deaf Counselors. Now, these new counselors can help other Deaf people with their feelings. They have their own experience of what it’s like to be Deaf and are now equipped with the skills on how to give the right advice.


Young woman aims to become fashion designer

A young woman, Nasike Robai who is a student at Karen Institute studied hairdressing, body therapy, sign language, and food production and service management. Her passion is fashion design saying “I am taking a course in fashion design, I want to own a fashion shop and sell clothes to trainees and trainers of this institute, and celebrities.” Growing up, Nasike’s parents struggled to send her to school because of their poverty, so they enrolled her in primary school while living in a rural, impoverished area of western Kenya. The Africa Development Bank and the Kenyan Ministry of Education provides funding to the Karen Institute to encourage people to get training to help their country to create more job opportunities.

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