DeafKidz International offer our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family on the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. We respect and admire her dedication, particularly to all the charities she supported, during her seventy year reign.

Latest News

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”.

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

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