At Portcullis House yesterday we welcomed Priti Patel’s commitment to addressing the needs of D/deaf and disabled people in low resource, development and humanitarian settings. ‘Disability should be entwined in “every single aspect of what we do in the development space as the United Kingdom”, she said. Furthermore, ‘Children around the world with disabilities are four times more prone to violence. That is just appalling’ Patel went onto say.
Whilst we welcome this announcement, we’re proceeding with caution… This is a Minister who was instrumental in cutting employment and support allowances for D/deaf and disabled people in the UK…. We’re also cautious because we take a view you can’t load D/deaf and disabled people into one overarching cohort and call it ‘the disabled’. So we’ll be looking to work with DFID, through our Special Representative and other networks, to ensure this distinction is understood; that there is a phonocentric differentiation and that the intricacies of communication, linquistics and culture, as experienced by D/deaf children and young people and their families, are noted. Interestingly, this is where initiatives such as the ADCAP, ‘Minimum Standards for Age and Disability Inclusion in Humanitarian Action’, are making some progress. In this eminent work, the communication needs of D/deaf people have been singled out for distinct attention, yet no-where in the Standards is there any mention of sign language interpreters or Human Aids to Communication… So we’re not quite there yet.
We’re currently looking at integrated pathways of safeguarding and ear & hearing care in Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Jamaica. So we’ll be liaising with the respective DFID Health Advisers to demonstrate the uniqueness of DeafKidz International’s approach and to affirm, in a practical and positive way, how dedicated and specific provision for D/deaf children can really make a difference; that such approaches can be both impactful and value for money.
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