Setting a Pace; Making a Difference – DeafKidz International JamaicaOur Jamaica programme continues to make a difference to D/deaf children and young people in this most challenging of environments. Through the medium of sport and dance activities, safeguarding messages and learning is disseminated to D/deaf children so that they can self-assert and say ‘No!’ to abuse. Through a series of school and community group based activity programmes, they are using sport and dance to ascertain identity, develop confidence and demonstrate, peer to peer, best practice. The discipline and rigour of both sport and dance facilitating the acquisition of critical safeguarding and protection skills for life.
The parenting element of the programme continues to change lives; 22 parents have just completed a 13 week parenting course at the May Pen Unit for the Deaf, West of Kingston. This progressive course has seen parents complete a Level 1 course in Jamaican Sign Language and Deaf Culture. Furthermore, the course has enabled the participating parents to bond and develop their own support networks; essential when bringing up a D/deaf child.
In partnership with the Jamaican Constabulary, UK Police Link Officer’s for the Deaf have just completed a criminal justice workshop aimed at introducing policing and criminal justice professionals to the intricacies of responding to the safeguarding needs of D/deaf children. Attended by Mrs. Justice Zaila McCalla, Chief Justice of Jamaica and a number of District Judges, the course was a precursor to the Police Link Officer development programme that DeafKidz International will deliver in partnership with UK Police. This is a significant undertaking and one that will cross reference with similar work with the South African Police and the Zimbabwe Republic Police; both being delivered by DeafKidz International and UK Police in partnership with, respectively, ChildLine South Africa and ChildLine Zimbabwe.
There are other aspects to the growing Jamaica programme too; the piloting of a new Video Relay Interpreting service for use in health and criminal justice settings and the piloting of a New Born Screening programme in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO). All of which is underpinned by a new DeafKidz International / Jamaica Association for the Deaf business development partnership, aimed at ensuring sustainability on the basis of evidenced impact. Our second global conference on responding to the needs of D/deaf children and young people in low resource settings is to be held in Jamaica in 2017. There we will be presenting, with a number of our stakeholders and partners, the work we’ve undertaken in Jamaica and tabling our critical path for cascade across the Caribbean. Together, we’ll leave no D/deaf child behind in the Caribbean.