Latest News

Announcement of DeafKidz International as End Violence Safe Online Grant Winner

We are thrilled to announce that DeafKidz International is a winner of End Violence Against Children’s Safe Online funding round. We are joining forces with 14 organisations in the global fight to end online abuse and exploitation of children.

One in three internet users worldwide is a child. With the global increase in access to the internet, brings a rise in online abuse and exploitation. Deaf children are at least three times more likely to be abused than hearing children. At any one time, 750,000 individuals are estimated to be looking to connect with children for sexual purposes.

Through this funding, DeafKidz International will develop DeafKidz Defenders, an early intervention, interactive, accessible digital platform to help deaf children aged 5 to 10 stay safe from online abuse and exploitation.

Through these educational games, deaf children will learn to protect themselves from online and face to face abuse, learning what a risk situation might look like, what’s appropriate/inappropriate in different situations, building a foundation of increased knowledge and awareness. These games will reduce deaf children’s vulnerability to abuse and exploitation while also promoting their resilience and self-advocacy. This project will be implemented in South Africa and Pakistan.

This digital solution is the first of its kind and is a huge step forward in our fight to keep deaf children safe.

We are grateful to End Violence Against Children for their investment in our organisation and the impact it will have on deaf children worldwide, to ensure every deaf child can live safely and without fear of online abuse and exploitation.

Read the full announcement from End Violence Against Children here

Watch this space for regular updates on this exciting project – follow us on social media here

Played our DEAFKIDZ vs COVID-19 games? Please help us by completing our survey!

DEAFKIDZ vs COVID-19 online games logoIn May 2020 we launched our DEAFKIDZ vs COVID-19 online interactive games, designed specifically for young deaf children to understand COVID-19 protective measures including social distancing, hand-washing and not touching the face.

We’ve had lots of engagement with the DEAFKIDZ vs COVID-19 games and we invite you to help us evaluate this excellent resource if you have played the games.

There are there questionnaires so please select the one that suits you best.

Please click one of the 3 options below to take a survey on our DEAFKIDZ vs COVID-19 games:

Questionnaire for Children

Questionnaire for Parents/Carers & Teachers

Questionnaire for Organisations

As a deaf organisation we really appreciate you completing this questionnaire as this information will be useful in providing feedback to our funders, and will assist in justifying both the creation of the game in this format, and the need for further resources in a similar format specifically for deaf children in the future. By taking part in this survey, you are helping DeafKidz International to make better resources in the future.

Thank you!

New Comic Relief Project delivering BSL workshops for deaf children

We are thrilled to announce a brand new project funded by Comic Relief delivering a series of online workshops for deaf children on drama, creative art, keeping fit and storytelling, led by deaf trainers in British Sign Language (BSL) & working with Action Deafness.

The Action Deafness, DeafKidz International, and Funded by Comic Relief logos

The situation with COVID-19 has meant that schools have been closed for several months now, limiting activities available for deaf children who can easily become isolated and fed up, negatively affecting their mental well-being.

So, funded by Comic Relief, DeafKidz International and Action Deafness have joined to deliver an exciting, interactive, fun, summer online programme, of activities (‘Action DeafKidz!’), for deaf children aged 7-15.

For 5 weeks between 3rd August to 7th September we will deliver online interactive activities, covering 4 main themes: Keeping Fit; Creative Arts; Drama; and BSL Storytelling led by deaf trainers and role models in BSL.

Please email [email protected] if you are a deaf trainer or have deaf children age 7-15 who would like to attend the summer programme.

The Action DeafKidz Logo

Launch of DEAFKIDZ vs COVID-19 online games

DeafKidz vs COVID-19 Games logo
DeafKidz International is delighted to announce the launch of our brand new DEAFKIDZ vs COVID-19 online games!

In these strange and challenging times of COVID-19, we are all concerned about how to stay safe. Although there are resources available explaining COVID-19, how it affects us, and how to minimise the spread of the virus, none have been developed in consultation with Deaf children and with their specific communication and information needs central. Yet, Deaf children, like all children, should be empowered to stay safe and to reduce their risk to infection and transmission, based on informed choice and safe behaviours.

Click here to read more and play the games!

Joint Statement from WFD, WFDYS and DeafKidz International

Responding to the Safeguarding and Protection Needs of Deaf Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

WFD, WFDYS and DeafKidz International logos

The Covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global health crisis impacting communities around the world. Click below to read the joint statement from the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), the WFD Youth Section (WFDYS) and DeafKidz International.

Click here to read the joint statement

The Merger of Sound Seekers and DeafKidz International

We are delighted to announce that with effect 3rd April 2020, Sound Seekers (The Commonwealth Society for the Deaf) will be joining forces with DeafKidz International to form a new combined charity that will be known as ‘DeafKidz International’.

This new entity, DeafKidz International, will work to comprehensively respond to the safeguarding protection, health, wellbeing and access to education needs of D/deaf children, young people and vulnerable adults in low resource, developing and complex humanitarian settings. The merger will see an enhanced DeafKidz International widen its geography and programming as its works to ensure D/deaf children, young people and vulnerable adults reduce their risk and vulnerability to abuse, whilst accessing quality ear and hearing care in the communication mode of choice and within an overarching safeguarding and protection framework; all of which draws reference to the vision, mission and values of Sound Seekers.

As DeafKidz International looks to the future, it will combine the 60 years of history, heritage, expertise and experience of Sound Seekers with the passion and innovation of DeafKidz International; positioning the new merged entity as, quite simply, the global leader working to ensure the safeguarding and protection of D/deaf children, young people and vulnerable adults; none of whom we will ever leave behind.

Frequently Asked Questions »

Addressing Gender Based Violence – Keshana’s Story, Keshana’s Leadership

Photograph of Keshana, Signing Safe Futures Coach

Keshana, Signing Safe Futures Coach

At DeafKidz International we are committed to addressing the outrage of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against D/deaf girls and women. We see GBV as the most socially tolerated human rights violation of our time, deeply rooted in tradition, inequity and ignorance. The cost of the global pandemic of GBV is beyond measure and the physical and psychological toll it takes on individual girls and women is immeasurable. Even more so if you are D/deaf and therefore the lack the means to self-advocate and self-represent; to say ‘No!’ to abuse.

In partnership with Laureus Sport for Good, we’ve been trialling in Jamaica an all D/deaf led response to the challenge of GBV. Over the last two years we’ve worked carefully to develop an approach that is led by D/deaf women and which we now plan to cascade through the wider Caribbean – Barbados, St; Lucia, Antigua – and, in partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide, to Iraq, Pakistan and Jordan.

At the time the Signing Safe Futures trial commenced in Jamaica, Keshana was engaged in an abusive relationship with her common–law husband. Despite her initial hesitation about joining the programme, Keshana quickly realized its numerous benefits; “When I joined and saw the things that we were learning, I was like yes!…..this can help me” The abuse Keshana received at the hands of her common law husband was both verbal and physical. “He wanted to control me, I couldn’t have friends. He just wanted me there in the house to control me…He would smash my TV and phone and physically abuse me.”

Very simply, Keshana’s life changed when she learnt of Signing Safe Futures and elected to join to train as a Coach. “God chose me to join the project because of what I was going through” she said. “The project made me realize that I could defend myself. That was something I didn’t know before. After learning the martial arts techniques, dance and GBV awareness, I was empowered. When he tried to hit me the second time, I was able to defend myself. This project has given me tools on how to defend myself and know about my life as a Deaf female.”

Empowered and strengthened to realise that the relationship she was in was destructive and unsafe, Keshana decided enough was enough and that she would move out. “The last time he tried to hit me I used one of the techniques I learnt in the martial arts classes to defend myself. He was shocked and stopped the abuse immediately. He realized that I was powerful and never touched me again. The next day, I just left him, I packed by things and told him I was leaving…..he didn’t try and stop me.”

Keshana’s story is typical of the many D/deaf girls and women who experience GBV worldwide. Yet here, as a Coach and leader within the D/deaf community, Keshana has encouraged other D/deaf females to join the Signing Safe Futures programme and to remind them that, both, they have a right to stay safe from abuse and that they should stand up for their rights. “I would encourage them to join the project and many would say that they don’t have the time but I would tell them that I can meet with them privately on their schedule and I would teach them the programme.”

Inspired by Mogul, Oprah Winfrey, Keshana aims to become a great leader especially for young women. “I want people to know that D/deaf women are equal, we have the same experiences, and the same blood. Deaf women are worthy.”

Our experience at DeafKidz International is that due to the sensitivity of the subject, violence against women is universally under-reported. GBV is often shrouded in secrecy and if you lack the language or vocabulary to disclose, as is often the case with D/deaf women, doubly complicated. Survivors of GBV often feel shame and in a number of the cultures within which we work, it is not uncommon for women to be blamed for their own rape. Clinical, social welfare and criminal justice practitioners lack D/deaf awareness and so D/deaf girls and young women fail to access the support they require.

We’re committed to addressing these inequalities and to ensuring no D/deaf girl or young woman is left behind; through our Signing Safe Futures initiative we’re doing just that.

Responding to the Safeguarding and Protection Needs of D/deaf Children in Jordan

Photograph of the Zataari refugee camp on the Jordan / Syrian border

The Zataari refugee camp on the Jordan / Syrian border

This new and exciting programme is being developed in partnership with the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation, who have generously funded our early stage assessment, and the Amman based Asia Development Training organisation, an indigenous Jordanian NGO.

Drawing reference from the assessment visits we’ve undertaken to Amman and the Zataari refugee camp on the Jordan / Syrian border, we’ve ascertained that there is currently no public health newborn, infant or children’s screening programme for D/deafness in the Kingdom; that existing Child Protection capabilities are not inclusive to the needs of D/deaf children; that there are few sign language interpreters with any formal training in sign language skills.

Consequently, there is an urgent and pressing need to secure empirical data which evidences the reality of protection, communication, ear & hearing care and access to educational provision for D/deaf CYP and their families in Jordan. This to inform the design of subsequent public health service provision and to highlight areas for capacity development. The joint partnership of DeafKidz International, the Sir Bobby Charlton Foundation and Asia Development Training organisation will work to develop approaches and methodologies to ensure the early identification of D/deaf children. In addition, our work will focus on responding to the safeguarding needs of D/deaf refugee children and it is here that our experience of supporting refugee children in Europe (France, Greece and Germany) – with Save the Children – will be invaluable.

As the global leader for the safeguarding and protection of D/deaf children, our work in Jordan represents yet another stage in our growth and learning; one that now sees DeafKidz International operational in seven geographies worldwide.

Leading Deaf Rights Ambassador, Colin Allen AM, Joins the DeafKidz Ambassador Team!

Photograph of Colin Allen AMIt is with great pleasure that the Board of DeafKidz International is able to announce the appointment of leading campaigner for Deaf rights, Colin Allen AM to its Global Ambassador team. As founder, Steve Crump, comments, this is a special moment for DeafKidz International as it works to ensure the safeguarding and protection of Deaf children globally; “It goes without saying that we are delighted to have Colin join our Ambassador team and to be working alongside our existing Ambassador, Claudia Gordon in the United States. D/deaf led and authentic, DeafKidz International is now working in seven countries globally whilst also working contractually with the likes of Oxfam, the British Council and Islamic Relief Worldwide to ensure humanitarian, development and healthcare provision is accessible to D/deaf children and young people.

“I’ve long been a supporter of DeafKidz International’s work” said Colin “and so I am pleased to be part of a movement that is looking to make a real difference to the lives of D/deaf children globally; ensuring that they able to live safely and without fear of abuse and exploitation”.

Said the Chair of DeafKidz International, Dr Liz Avital, “It’s a real privilege for us to be working with Colin who has, quite simply, advanced the human rights of Deaf people like no other. As President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) he led the organisation through a period of unprecedented change and one that saw greater engagement with the UN system and other international human rights and international development organisations”.

Having worked closely on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for persons with disabilities worldwide, Colin will advise and support the DeafKidz team as it advocates at the highest global level to ensure D/deaf children are able to reduce their risk and vulnerability to physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect.

Colin Allen AM – Biography

Colin Allen AM has advanced the human rights of deaf people and persons with disability for over 40 years by participating politically, professionally and socially in the Deaf Community and disability sector. Colin’s extensive contribution to the Deaf Community began initially at the local level, then more broadly nationally in Australia and for the past 20 years, he has been actively involved in the international realm.

Colin is immediate past President of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) having served two terms as President from 2011 – 2019 following involvement as a Board member of the organisation since 2003. Colin is also the immediate past Chair of the International Disability Alliance (IDA) having occupied the role of Chair from 2016 – 2018. During his involvement with WFD and IDA, Colin played a key role in guiding and representing WFD and IDA’s engagement with the United Nations and other international human rights and development organisations. In 2019, IDA honoured Colin, conferring on him the title “Honorary President” for his service as the Chair of the IDA between 2016 – 2018.

Colin has designed and delivered training and presented workshops on issues related to human rights for both the Deaf Community and persons with disability in more than 70 countries in each of the major continents and has also addressed numerous international conferences as a keynote presenter.

Colin has received numerous appreciation Awards for his service. This includes being made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List and in 2019, receiving the prestigious Dr Liisa Kauppinen Human Rights Award in recognition of his dedication, advocacy, leadership and contribution to the international Deaf Community.

In October 2019, Colin will commence as a Visiting Lecturer at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, USA. As a Global Ambassador to DeafKidz International, Colin will focus on the rights of deaf children, particularly their right to access information in sign language about life-important issues such as gendered based violence. “I will actively promote the mission of the organisation and use my influence to ensure the rights of deaf children, particularly young women and girls are protected. I will engage with governments and their representatives to highlight this issue and to facilitate pro-active action in this sphere”.

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