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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”.

Making a Difference to the Lives of D/deaf Children at Scale with Oxfam GB

DeafKidz International is delighted to be appointed a technical partner to Oxfam GB’s International Multi-Disciplinary Programme Framework Agreement (IMDP) consortium. This is a significant step for DeafKidz International and one that recognises this Brighton based charity as the global leader for the safeguarding and protection of D/deaf children and young people in low resource settings.

Our staff and consultancy team will now deliver high-quality technical humanitarian and development expertise across DFID priority countries and around the world; providing effective, safe and cost-efficient programme delivery which is inclusive of the needs of Deaf, hard of hearing, deafened and DeafBlind people.

Furthermore, this appointment positions DeafKidz International at the heart of an organisation which last year, directly helped 14 million people – the majority women – to build a life free from poverty. Over recent years, Oxfam GB has increased the scale, quality and value for money of its programming, such that it now has c.3,300 staff in DFID priority countries, c.100 global technical advisors and substantial business management teams (finance, HR, procurement, risk) at country, regional and global levels.

Our role through the IMDP is to provide technical expertise and capability that enables Oxfam GB to ensure its work is accessible to D/deaf people and those with other / wider disabilities. This may range from ensuring safeguarding provisions within a newly established refugee camp are accessible to D/deaf children, through to ensuring the design of a new livelihoods development programme is fully inclusive and accessible.

As with our partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide, our Oxfam GB partnership demonstrates the power of DeafKidz International, a D/deaf led safeguarding and protection organisation, working to resource and enable a ‘main stream’ provider to be truly inclusive in approach and implementation. Given that Deafness is the third largest disability globally, but the least understood, it goes without saying that all humanitarian and development programmes, per the conventions of the UNCRPD, UNCRC and the SDGs, must ensure they are inclusive of the access and communication needs of D/deaf people.

This is where DeafKidz International adds value – ensuring programming is inclusive, resilient and robust. As always, we’re on it.

Disability Rights Campaigner, Claudia Gordon, joins DeafKidz International as Global Ambassador

Photograph of Claudia GordonDeafKidz International is delighted to announce the appointment of American disability rights campaigner, Claudia Gordon, as an Ambassador to DeafKidz International. “This is a really exciting moment for us” said Steve Crump, Founder and Chief Executive of the safeguarding and protection charity; “Claudia will be a familiar face to the many that follow our work – a deaf woman who is, quite simply, one of the world’s leading disability rights campaigners”.

As Claudia commented; “DeafKidz International is a charity I much admire and so I am delighted to accept this appointment as global Ambassador, representing the vital protection interests of millions of deaf children and young people worldwide; many of whom are at risk of abuse and exploitation. And for those that are victims and survivors of abuse, those unable to access equitable justice in their language of choice”.

Deaf from the age of 8, Claudia moved to the United States in response to the stigma and discrimination she experienced in her native Jamaica. From these beginnings, Claudia set her heart upon becoming a lawyer, studying political science at Howard University and law at the American University’s Washington College of Law before entering government service.

Whilst at the Department of Homeland Security, Claudia provided leadership and oversight to the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities. In response to the devastations of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she was deployed to work at the Joint Field Office (JFO) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she served as the disability, aging and other special needs populations’ civil rights subject matter expert ensuring their access to recovery and rebuilding provisions.

A recipient of the Paul G. Hearne / AAPD leadership award from the American Association of People with Disabilities, Claudia served as a public engagement advisor at the White House under President Barack Obama.

As a global Ambassador to DeafKidz International, Claudia will support the organisation’s advocacy work at the highest level, representing the needs of deaf children to nation state governments, partner agencies, investors and donors throughout. “One in four deaf girls experiences sexual violence” observed Claudia. “I plan to use my ambassadorship to focus attention on this issue and to especially address the challenge of Gender Based Violence against deaf girls and young women. An area where DeafKidz has already done much valuable work”.

“For both DeafKidz International in the UK and the New York based DeafKidz International USA, this is an opportunity for us to work with Claudia to get our message out to the people that need to know” observed Steve Crump; “that as a deaf led organisation we will not allow deaf children endure the agony of abuse. Claudia’s support is critical here and we look forward to working with her further.

About Claudia Gordon

Claudia Gordon is a dedicated advocate for people with disabilities, who specializes in creating a world that allows them to feel seen, heard, valued, and included. She currently serves as the Director of Government and Compliance with Sprint Accessibility, a business unit within Sprint Corporation that seeks to remove communication barriers for customers with disabilities, including individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, or have a speech disability.

A graduate of Howard University and the American University’s Washington College of Law, Claudia is the first deaf Black woman attorney in the United States. Armed with her passion for advocacy, compliance, and civic engagement, she’s held a number of senior leadership positions at agencies such as National Association of the Deaf, Inc., National Council on Disability, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

During the Obama Administration, Claudia served as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Associate Director of Public Engagement for the White House Office of Public Engagement. An expert in compliance and accessibility, she is a sought after speaker and consultant to companies and organizations that wish to create environments that are inclusive and promote equity for all.

For her unrelenting commitment to her work, Claudia has been recognized as a leader by the American Association of People with Disabilities, Google, and The Root 100. A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, she finds joy in empowering women and girls with disabilities to own, and stand confidently in their otherness.

DeafKidz Goal!!

Young people playing football in IndiaAs 2018 comes to a close, it seems an opportune moment to announce a new safeguarding and protection programme which sees the partnership of DeafKidz International and Slum Soccer, funded by Comic Relief, work to reduce the risk and vulnerability of D/deaf children to abuse and exploitation in India…

Over the next three years, this programme will use the platform of street soccer to enable D/deaf children, especially girls, to stay safe from physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect. Centred in the Maharashtra city of Nagpur, the programme will see the existing Slum Soccer curriculum adapted and delivered by coaches trained in delivering street football activities. These coaches will be both D/deaf and hearing, demonstrating as always, our progressive approach to the integration of D/deaf and hearing and, thereby, the ‘normalization’ of D/deafness.

With child sexual abuse in India endemic – every 155 minutes a child under 16 years is raped – we’re committed to ensuring D/deaf children are empowered to self-represent and to self-assert; to say ‘No!’ to abuse and, if they should become a victim or survivor, to support them with an appropriate pathway of care and protection…

This all new work is important for DeafKidz International as it will be delivered alongside a parallel project in South Africa where, with Tackle Africa and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Deaf Association, we’re using street soccer to address the challenge of HIV / AIDS; ensuring D/deaf children reduce their risk to HIV and where they are living with AIDS, are able to reduce their susceptibility to stigma and discrimination…

Drawing reference from our experience in India and South Africa, we’ll be building a template approach to safeguarding, protection, living at risk of HIV / AIDS which, utilising street soccer to its best effect, can be cascaded internationally. This, coupled with the digital child protection resources we’re developing with Litmus Games and Every1Mobile, will affirm DeafKidz International, quite simply, as the global leader working to ensure the safeguarding and protection of D/deaf children…

It’s been an incredible year for DeafKidz International – ongoing gender based violence work in Jamaica, Signing Safe Futures South Africa!, the Global Disability Summit, the WHO Ear & Hearing Care stakeholder meeting, training of teachers of the Deaf in Iraq, the launch of our screening programme in Pakistan, the launch of the DFID Disability Strategy, DeafKidz Goal in India, our research in Europe on the needs of D/deaf refugees / migrants and now, hot off the press, joint work with CBM and the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) in Gaza – responding to the psycho-social needs of D/deaf children…

None of this would be possible without the support of our Board, the hard working staff team, our committed sessional advisers and the partners / donors who have chosen to invest in DeafKidz International…

To all of you, on behalf of the D/deaf children we serve, so many of whom I have met this year in so many different settings, I would like to accord my thanks…

You really are making a difference and it is a privilege to work with you…

Suffice to say, we look forward to your continued support in 2019…

With the very best to you all for the festive season

Steve Crump
Founder / Chief Executive Officer
DeafKidz International

Scaling for Growth – The Digital Gamechanger…

Litmus Games artworkAt DeafKidz International, as the global leader working to ensure the safeguarding and protection of D/deaf children, we’re committed to ensuring all D/deaf children are protected from stigma, discrimination, abuse and exploitation… During our short existence, we’ve done just that in South Africa, Jamaica, Pakistan, Iraq and more… In Jamaica alone, more than 3000 D/deaf children and their parents accessed our Comic Relief Child Protection programme… And in Pakistan now, we’re screening more than 10,000 newborns, infants and children for D/deafness… All those identified as D/deaf will be placed on a bespoke pathway of protection, communication skills development, ear and hearing care… Through all our work and with partners such as Islamic Relief Worldwide, DFID, the Oak Foundation, Laureus Sport for Good and the British Council we’re working tirelessly to enable D/deaf children – and particularly D/deaf girls – to live their lives safely and without fear.

As we gear up for the next three years of our development – which we’re calling our ‘Blitzscaling’ phase after Hoffman and Yeh’s seminal work! – we’re partnering with one of the world’s leading independent video game developers, Litmus Games, and with our good friends Every 1 Mobile, the global leaders for digital inclusion, to design and deliver state of the art digital resources that will enable D/deaf children to acquire safe behaviours and, thereby, reduce their risk and vulnerability to abuse… In addition, digital resources that will enable the professionals supporting the victims and survivors of abuse – health-workers, police officers, teachers, social workers – to afford timely and appropriate care in the communication mode of choice… This all being aimed at creating a digital, inclusive and accessible capability that will persist for the long term, whilst being able to adapt to change or demand as required or appropriate… Furthermore, the development of a digital resource bank and community of practice that once and for all, ensures no D/deaf child is ever left behind…

Rebuilding Access to Quality Deaf Education in Post-Conflict Iraq

In partnership with the British Council, DeafKidz International has been working as part of the international community’s response to the rehabilitation of Iraq and, in particular, the rebuild of its D/deaf education system. Funded by the EU, this is a 40 month programme, titled ‘Capacity Building in Primary and Secondary Education: Improving Quality & Equality’ which is aimed at equipping and skilling teachers of the D/deaf to deliver quality and progressive education to D/deaf children and young people.

For the last two months, DeafKidz International’s Stuart Harrison has been working with his local counterpart, Abdallah Ghanem, to design, deliver and evaluate teacher trainer workshops for more than 150 teachers of the D/deaf. Delivered over a five day period, these workshops saw the participants look at curriculum, content and practice in sessions that were both engaging and participative. All of which was aimed at ensuring D/deaf children, in this most fragmented of settings, are able to access the vital bilingual and bicultural education they need, taking into account their broad spectrum of communication needs including those who may have hearing aids and implants.

And this is just the beginning, as we work with the British Council and our local partners to develop a long term approach that is resilient and sustainable. One that will raise, both, the standard of education for D/deaf children in Iraq and also for other geographies as we seek to replicate and cascade this best practice.

Let’s Talk Inclusion: digital solutions

Let's talk inclusion: Digital SolutionsDeafKidz International is pleased to announce its exciting participation at this year’s, Global Disability Summit on Monday 23rd July and Tuesday 24th July, in partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide and Every1Mobile!

The summit aims to raise global attention and focus on a long-neglected area, mobilise new global and national commitments on disability and showcase good practice, innovation and evidence from across the world. Suffice to say, we’re delighted to be involved in this seminal event as we look to demonstrate, with our partners, the potential of mobile and internet technology for enabling D/deaf children and young people to access protection and safeguarding messaging.

This initiative will see DeafKidz International work with the global leader for digital inclusion, Every1Mobile, to develop content which D/deaf children can access through mobile phone and tablet devices. The content will be simple, easy to understand and replicable at scale. With Islamic Relief Worldwide we’ll be testing this operating methodology and content in a range of settings. All of which will enable DeafKidz International, Every1Mobile and Islamic Relief Worldwide to determine how best to utilise this technology to ensure reach, impact and behavioural change as never before!

Hosted by the British Government, the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance, the Summit has tabled a high level of ambition, seeking participants to be bold and brave in their commitment on four key themes; tackling stigma and discrimination, inclusive education, technology and innovation, and economic empowerment. We’re part of this commitment and have made a number of pledges we which will share with you now…

Tackling stigma and discrimination:

We will work in partnership with the Ayesha Bashir Trust in Pakistan, funded by UK AID Direct, to ensure D/deaf children and young people reduce their risk and vulnerability to negative stereotypes, attitudes and behaviours

Inclusive Education

We will work with the British Council and the European Union to ensure that teachers for the Deaf in Iraq protect and safeguard the D/deaf children in their care, reducing their risk and vulnerability to abuse

Technology and Innovation

In partnership with Islamic Relief Worldwide and Every1Mobile, we will ensure D/deaf children in low resource and complex humanitarian settings are able to access safeguarding messaging through digital messaging

Girls and Women with Disabilities

In partnership with Laureus Sport for Good, we will work to ensure D/deaf girls and young women in Jamaica reduce their risk and vulnerability to Gender Based Violence

People with Disabilities in Humanitarian Contexts

With Save the Children UK and Islamic Relief World Wide, we will work to ensure D/deaf children and young people in complex humanitarian settings are able to access protection, communication, health and educational services in the communication mode of choice

Over the next few days we’ll keep you updated on the progress of the summit; we’re trusting that much will be achieved!

DeafKidz’ Work Praised by Penny Mordaunt – Secretary of State for International Development

Photograph of Penny Mordaunt“I Praise the Work of DeafKidz International” — Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt
House of Commons – 18th April 2018

We’re delighted that the long and often frustrating journey to ensure the protection and safeguarding needs of D/deaf children is gaining recognition by DFID and other key humanitarian, development and global health decision makers. We applaud the support of the Secretary of State and are delighted that DFID is recognising the value of our work in addressing the challenge of Gender Based Violence in Jamaica, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. Piloted in Jamaica, our DeafGirlz Shall! campaign is aimed at ensuring that at least 120,000 D/deaf girls and young women are able to reduce their risk and vulnerability to Gender Based Violence.

We’re doing this, quite simply, by training young D/deaf women as coaches and role models who will promote, enthuse and inspire D/deaf girls to say ‘No!’ to abuse… Our evidence suggests one in four D/deaf girls experiences sexual violence… That’s one in four too many and we’re resolved to addressing this outrage. Gender Based Violence undermines the health, dignity and security of its victims yet it is shrouded in silence. No one will talk and in the D/deaf community, a paralysis sets in… No one quite knows what to do. We’re working to address this inertia and to respond to the sexual and reproductive health consequences that occur including forced and unplanned pregnancies, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and even death.

Through our DeafGirlz Shall! campaign we’re working to provide victim and survivor support… That clinical, social, welfare and criminal justice responses are both integrated and D/deaf aware… A particular focus being the training of Sign Language Interpreters in the terminology, language and semantics of abuse, so that vital communication support can be afforded at a time where clear, accurate and appropriate translation is most needed.

In partnership with DFID, we shall continue our efforts to ensure that the hard to reach population of D/deaf children and young people are able to reduce their risk and vulnerability to abuse. With DFID and through the UK Aid Direct initiative, we will absolutely ensure no D/deaf child is left behind.

Signing Safe Futures Jamaica! Tackling the outrage of Gender Based Violence!

Photograph of a young woman punching a punching padWith the launch of our pilot Gender Based Violence (GBV) project in Jamaica, we’re working to explore new methodologies for ending physical, sexual and emotional violence against D/deaf girls and young women. In addition, we’re looking to determine how we can enable D/deaf girls and young women to feel secure and to stay safe from harm. We see GBV as founded in gender-based inequalities. It is, quite simply, an ugly and distressing manifestation of the inequality between female and male, one that constitutes a gross violation of human rights and which hinders gender equality.

Our experience is that most GBV happens within the family and that it can take many forms such as partner violence, sexual violence by non-partners, Female Genital mutilation (FGM), honour violence, early marriage, violence against LGBTI and trafficking in human beings. We’ve found evidence of all these being prosecuted against D/deaf girls and young women, so we’ve decided we must act.

Signing Safe Futures Jamaica! is just the start. Funded by Laureus Sport for Good and delivered in partnership with the Jamaican Association for the Deaf, this project sees the assembly of curriculum and content which empowers and enables D/deaf girls and young women to say ‘No!’ to GBV. To self-advocate and to self-represent so that they can reduce their susceptibility to abuse and exploitation.

This through the delivery of martial arts and dance sessions, taught by trained D/deaf and female coaches, who also act as role models for D/deaf girls, promoting safe behaviours and ensuring, both, an increase in gender equality and the transformation of gender norms. But what is unique about this programme is the work being undertaken to reframe masculinity amongst D/deaf boys. Working together, the D/deaf coaches and some of their participant D/deaf girls will assemble a module for presentation to D/deaf boys. One that will look at gender expectations, roles and responsibilities from the perspective of D/deaf girls, who will then go onto present the module’s composite activities to D/deaf boys themselves!

The strengthening of legal and policy frameworks to address GBV against D/deaf girls is also important as we work with a range of Criminal Justice stakeholders in Jamaica, to bridge the gap between law and practice and to end the impunity for GBV. All of which leads to a proven programme concept which, in partnership with the global donor community we will cascade to Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and South Africa.


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