With the permission and blessing of Davin Searls, I would like to share with you this letter reprinted from DDW's annual report. I have been a supporter of DDW since 2010.
Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW) exists because of the stark inequalities that Deaf people face, especially those who live in the developing world. Over 90% of Deaf people in developing countries have no education at all; that's over 200 million who never go to school.
DDW exists because out of these millions of Deaf people whom are uneducated, as well as the millions more who are under-educated, many are neglected, taken advantage of, abandoned and abused. Due to a lack of information, access, and role models, these Deaf people and their communities do not know that Deaf people can succeed in all aspects of life when given the opportunity.
But above all, DDW exists because of the resolute and passionate Deaf leaders in these countries who are beating the odds, and showing the world that every person, hearing, deaf, or otherwise, can make a valuable contribution to society.
DDW exists to ensure we live in a world where that's possible.
DDW doesn't build schools or provide workshops to parents. DDW doesn't lobby governments for equal rights or teach employers how to work with Deaf people. Local Deaf leaders are already doing that. They just need the right support and guidance to take their efforts to the next level.
DDW partners with these leaders, providing them with training on organizational management, how to maximize local resources, and ensure sustainability. We not only want them to succeed, but to keep succeeding. In our ever-shrinking world, our Deaf community is a global one, and if Deaf cultures and sign languages from across the globe are to be appreciated, preserved, and celebrated, we cannot do it alone.
Over the past twelve months, DDW has made some of its most notable accomplishments to date. We successfully implemented the EMPOWER Program, a cross-cultural capacity building exchange between the USA and Philippines, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. We also received a second federal grant award from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which will continue until Fall 2015. Read more about the goals and achievements of these programs in this year's annual report.
Both programs are developed and implemented in partnership with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD), an organization comprised of some of the most inspiring Deaf leaders we have ever met, whom we will continue to work closely with for several years to come.
And of course, DDW exists today because of you. Thank you for your support and continued interest in DDW and our work. Please keep an eye out for more stories on our website and in our newsletter as we continue to forge new paths, new partnerships, and new successes.
Davin B. Searls
Learn more about DDW:
To read more of my blog posts on DDW, click here.