Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Discovering Deaf Worlds

Davin Searles, Christy Smith, and Dave Justice

Have you heard about Discovering Deaf Worlds?

This organization is the brainchild of Dave Justice (an ASL interpreter) and Christy Smith (a deaf contestant on Survivor). To get DDW started in 2007, the pair raised funds to spend a year traveling New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, Nepal, India, and Cambodia in search of deaf support groups in these countries. You can read the story of their adventures and the wonderful people they met along the way in their archived newsletters.

Three years later, Discovering Deaf Worlds is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to empowering deaf and hard of hearing people in developing countries. Davin Searles has joined Dave and Christy as Executive Director and 9 board members have been selected.

DDW's first successful project was creating a film titled Discovering: Shuktara. This documentary tells the story of 18 boys and girls in Kolkata, India who were given a new chance at life after being abandoned by their families or escaping abusive homes. While many non-governmental organizations in India often overlook homeless children who are deaf, Shuktara embraces them. You can view a trailer of the film here.

The STAR (Shuktara Teachers and Role Models) Initiative has now been launched to provide training and educational materials for deaf Indian tutors to work with the children of the Shuktara homes on language development and vocational skills. The long-term goal is for the children to attain the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to run the homes independently. You can read more about it in their December 2009 newsletter.

In my next post, I will share more with you about Discovering Deaf Worlds.

1 comment:

kym said...

Yes, I've heard of Discovering Deaf Worlds for awhile now, I hope someone else reading your post discovers them as well.