What does ‘D/deaf’ mean?
Uppercase ‘D’ Deaf refers to those whose first or preferred language is sign language and who may describe themselves as Culturally Deaf. Lowercase ‘d’ deaf refers to people who have difficulty hearing but do not use sign language as their first or preferred language and do not identify themselves as Culturally Deaf.
What is Deaf culture?
The WFD says the following about Deaf Culture: “Deaf people as a linguistic minority have a common experience of life, and this manifests itself in Deaf culture. This includes beliefs, attitudes, history, norms, values, literary traditions, and art shared by Deaf people.
Deaf culture is at the heart of Deaf communities everywhere in the world. Each Deaf community is a cultural group which shares a sign language and a common heritage. Members of Deaf communities all around the world therefore identify themselves as members of a cultural and linguistic group. Identification with the Deaf community is a personal choice and is usually made independent of the individual’s hearing status, and the community is not automatically composed of all people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. The Deaf community may also include family members of Deaf people, sign language interpreters and people who work or socialize with Deaf people who identify with Deaf culture. A person is a member of the Deaf community if he or she self-identifies as a member of the Deaf community, and if other members accept that person as a member. Very often this acceptance is strongly linked to competence in a signed language.
Deaf people have their own local, national and international organizations around the world, which might be social, athletic, scholarly, religious, and/or literary. Deaf people regularly meet each other in Deaf clubs, events, sporting matches and conventions. They share information, concerns and reciprocal support. Important Deaf international organizations include the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD).
Article 30, paragraph 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes Deaf culture in the following statement: “Persons with disabilities shall be entitled, on an equal basis with others, to recognition and support of their specific cultural and linguistic identity, including sign languages and Deaf culture”.”
(Available at: http://wfdeaf.org/our-work/focus-areas/deaf-culture.)
Who are our main beneficiaries?
Deafway works with D/deaf people, wherever they live to help ensure that they get the same chances as hearing people. Currently we are working in the UK, Nepal, Uganda and Kenya.
Do you supply hearing aids?
Not at this time, we mainly work with people who use sign language as their first or preferred language.
Can you teach me BSL and/or Deaf Awareness?
Yes, up to level 2, please see the Sign Language section of our website.
Do you still have a swimming pool?
No, unfortunately most swimming pools run at a loss and as it was not one of our core services we could not afford to keep it open.
I’m learning sign language can I volunteer at Deafway?
Thank you for considering volunteering. We are always looking for people who have the skills and time to help out with fundraising, administration and site maintenance. Before getting in touch, please think carefully about your skills, how much time you have available and how you would like to support us before getting in touch.
Many people contact us about volunteering because they have started to learn sign language and want the opportunity to practice. While we would love to have the capacity to offer this opportunity to everyone we have to work on the premise that as a charity, volunteers must give more than they take – especially in respect of time and resources.
If you would like to talk this through with someone please contact us. If together we decide that that there is a strong chance you will be able to volunteer at Deafway then we will ask you to download and complete a Volunteer Application Pack.
How do you monitor your overseas projects?
We have a strict process of monitoring and evaluation in place to ensure that money is spent correctly and that if there are any problems we are made aware of them. In addition, Deafway makes a least one monitoring visit a year. We also work with local partners who give us regular updates.
What about sustainability?
You can read our Overseas Schools Sustainability Statement here.