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DECEMBER 2013 Volume 7, IsSue 2

Boats on the Loboc River, Philippines

Board Members President Harold Mowl, Jr., Ph.D.

Year-end Message from DDW's Executive Director

Vice President James DeCaro, Ph.D. Treasurer Bryan Hensel Secretary Stacey Miller Donalda Ammons, Ph.D. Carol-lee Aquiline Bernard Bragg Mencie Hairston Marty Hiller Khadijat Rashid, Ph.D. Michael Schwartz, Ph.D. Denise Thew, Ph.D. Madan Vasishta, Ph.D. Staff Executive Director Davin Searls International Programs Director and Co-Founder David Justice Newsletter Services T.S. Writing Services

About DDW

Discovering Deaf Worlds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the selfdetermination of signing Deaf communities through local capacity building in developing countries. DDW recognizes that all people, regardless of their social or economic background, possess the capacity to succeed, and deserve equal access to education, the workplace, and the benefits that society has to offer. For more information, visit



December 2013

U.S. Delegates learn about the history of the U.S. Embassy in manila. Happy Holidays! It’s hard to believe another year has gone by already, but it has been a magnificent year for DDW, indeed! Let me tell you why. DDW was established seven years ago this month with a plan to survey the needs and resources available to Deaf people in developing countries. Since then, DDW has connected with nearly 300 Deaf schools and organizations in over 50 countries. After becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2009, DDW focused its mission on building the local capacity of Deaf advocacy associations through partnership in developing countries. These partnerships have begun in the Philippines and Costa Rica. This past year saw DDW’s greatest milestone to date: we began the implementation of our first major federal grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Through this program, we engaged 22 participants, more than 75 presenters, and 50-plus organizations, institutions and government agencies from

the U.S. and the Philippines in a cross-cultural capacitybuilding exchange program. Last May, officers and influential members of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) spent a month in the U.S. receiving training on strategic planning, organizational development, grant writing, and other skills. In November, 11 Americans visited the Philippines to learn about the challenges local Deaf advocacy organizations face and how we could collectively support efforts to overcome these challenges. One of the most memorable moments from this trip to the Philippines took place during our visit to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. After touring the grounds and learning about the history of the embassy, we were taken to meet the Chargé d’Affaires, Brian Goldbeck. He warmly greeted our group and provided a summary of his experience and work. He asked how we were enjoying the Philippines, and about our work with PFD. At the end of our meeting, he asked for two messages to share with government officials, with whom he regularly

The DDW Delegation poses with Chargé d’ affaires Brian Goldbeck. meets — people who have the ability to affect disability law and educational policies in the Philippines. Yvette Apurado-B, Vice President of the Philippine Sports Federation of the Deaf and the Filipino Deaf Women’s Health Crisis Center, seized the opportunity to ask for support in the passing of House Bill 6079, which promotes Filipino Sign Language as the primary language used in Deaf education in the Philippines. We also asked Mr. Goldbeck to ensure that policymakers consult with Deaf community members directly, especially when making decisions that affect the Deaf community, as the community’s perspective has historically been ignored. Even though this was only a 30-minute meeting, the Filipino Deaf community’s concerns and equally important, proposed solutions, were heard. Throughout the remainder of our trip, these messages were reiterated and acknowledged in conversations with additional government officials such as Congressman Antonio Tinio, Congressman Hon. Magtanggol T. Gunigundo, Bohol Governor Edgardo Migrino Chatto, Mayor John Geesnell L. Yap II of Tagbilaran City, and many others. By demonstrating our combined resolve to advocate for the Filipino Deaf community, we created new allies who could support our work. With the EMPOWER grant coming to a close in early 2014, I’m thrilled to announce that we have recently begun working under a second federal grant, Expanding Participation of People with Disabilities in the Philippines, or the EXPAND program, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. Under the EXPAND program, we’ll continue our partnership with PFD for the next two years, providing five in-depth training phases on data collection

and strategic planning, disability law and organizational governance, fund development and financial management, program management and evaluation, and public relations and media. Our colleagues at PFD will then take all this information and provide training to the Deaf community in the Philippines, host a National Forum on Deaf Leadership, and develop an organizational development training manual on all these topics to assist PFD member organizations in their advocacy efforts. The EXPAND grant will run until September 2015, so please stay posted for updates! It’s remarkable to look back and see how far we’ve come in the past few years and even months, but we’re just getting started. By collaborating with incredibly dedicated, passionate people from the Philippines, and knowing that we have ongoing support from all of you far and wide, I am confident that our work together will greatly serve the 121,000 Deaf people of the Philippines while supporting PFD in becoming a sustainable and steadfast organization. Thank you all for believing in us. Have a wonderful holiday season. Davin Searls, DDW Executive Director

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe December 2013



The Year i

The closing forum at college of sa

Top to bottom: The Filipino delegation with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Associate Provost of International Education and Global Programs Dr. James Myers; The delegation tours the RIT/NTID campus; Jessie Flores of Dumaguete City shares a gift with Gallaudet University President Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz; The delegation attends the EMPOWER conference at the Department of State; Jesdelton Romo experiences tactile communication for the first time with Patty Starr at the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester. Above: Mackie Calbay shares her SWOT analysis of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD).

“When people are determined, they c 4


December 2013

in Photos

aint benilde in MANILA.

Top to bottom: Packing clothing for Typhoon Haiyan survivors; Participating in a capacity-building session with the Deaf Boholanos Society; Visiting the Dumaguete City mayor’s office, which has been very supportive of the local Deaf community; Another capacity-building session with PFD member organizations in the Manila area; Jesse Flores, treasurer of the Dumaguete Effata Association of the Deaf, Inc., summarizes the capacity-building session results. Above: A fond farewell at Mencie and Ernie Hairston’s home after the U.S. tour, complete with delicious home-cooked Filipino food.

can overcome anything.” – Nelson Mandela December 2013





Thank you  for  your   generosity!  



December 2013

Welcome to the Board, Mencie! DDW is pleased to announce that Mencie Hairston has become the newest member of DDW’s Board of Directors. Prior to immigrating to the United States in 1979, Mencie served in various capacities with the Philippine Association of the Deaf, Inc. (now the Philippine Federation of the Deaf), including serving as its education program director and executive director. Mencie brings extensive experience in non-profit management, community organizing and education. She is the founding director of High Bridge Foundation, Inc., a non-profit that promotes the well-being of young people from underserved populations including new immigrants, adoptees, disabled persons, and those needing financial help to pursue higher education. She is also the co-founder of Mabuhay, Inc., a Filipino American community organization based in Maryland and currently serves on its board of trustees. Additionally, Mencie serves on the University of Maryland’s Asian American Studies Scholarship Committee and on the Maryland Governor’s Asian American Commission. Mencie met her husband, Ernie Hairston (co-author of Black and Deaf in America and a founder of the National Black Deaf Advocates), in 1976 while pursuing her graduate degree in education at Gallaudet University. They have four daughters and make their home in Maryland. DDW first connected with Mencie and Ernie last May during the Department of State EMPOWER Program. With assistance from Khadijat Rashid, Mencie hosted a farewell party and cooked a Filipino dinner for Filipino delegates and Washington, D.C.-area community members. It is our sincere honor to welcome Mencie to the DDW board. We know that she will bring deep insight and wisdom to our work. Mabuhay, Mencie!

Happy Holidays From Discovering Deaf Worlds

“The healthiest response to life is joy.” - Deepak Chopra

Preserving Indigenous Sign Languages in Australia Last September, a University of Melbourne researcher developed the first online dictionary of sign languages used by indigenous communities in Australia. This dictionary is called Iltyem-iltyem, “signalling with hands” in the Anmatyerr language (which is used by people from Ti Tree in the Australian Northern Territory). Dr. Jenny Green states, “This new web-dictionary includes traditional signs as well as signs for modern things, and will safeguard the practice for future generations.” Read more at 2013-09-indigenous-languages-onlinedictionary.html.

“The more you move, the stronger you’ll grow….” – Ha Jin December 2013



A Power outage didn’t stop the FILIPINO and american participants from continuing their discussion.

Reflections on Philippines 2013 By Heather Harker, Director Consulting and Executive Transitions, Third Sector New England Through the partnership DDW has with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) (see pages 2-3 for more information) and funding from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ EMPOWER program, 11 U.S. participants travelled to the Philippines for three weeks last November. Travelling to the Philippines less than one week after Typhoon Haiyan and four weeks after a 7.2 earthquake hit Bohol, situations in which Deaf community members were cut off from critically important communications and relief efforts, heightened the importance and relevance of capacity-building work. Through our work with Deaf and interpreting organizations and this cultural exchange, we gained a greater appreciation the Philippines beyond simply being a site of natural disasters. As we boarded the plane for Manila, I marveled at the resilience of our Filipino colleagues who, while providing relief efforts to Deaf individuals in the affected regions, could also simultaneously maintain their daily lives and lead our exchange program and work during our visit. The heart of the partnership between DDW and PFD is a collaborative approach to find solutions that meet local/national needs as identified by local com8


December 2013

munity leaders. Toward this end, the U.S. delegation, led by local Filipino leaders, met with political leaders such as congressmen Antonio L. Tinio and Magtanggol T. Gunigundo, the Bohol mayor, key Deaf-led and Deaf-serving organizations in the National Capital Region, Dumaguete City and Taglibaran City (Bohol). These meetings were an opportunity to learn more about the political context within which our colleagues are working and to see our Filipino colleagues in action as publicly visible advocates in close relationship with key political leaders. Capacity-building sessions, designed as a series of interactive dialogues between Filipino leaders (including youth) and the U.S. delegation, allowed for a deeper exploration of key issues facing Deaf and interpreting organizations in the Philippines. Four capacity-building sessions were held with PFD in Manila, D.E.A.F., Inc. in Dumaguete City, Deaf Boholanos Society in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, and the Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters in Manila. Fortunately, because DDW and PFD are in a multi-year partnership, the capacity-building work that took place during this exchange is one piece of a larger process so each session built upon work that had preceded this exchange. For example, with the Deaf Boholanos Society, the primary Deaf-led organization in that region, we explored the role of strategic allies (hearing and Deaf) and the critical role of Deaf youth as the future leaders of the organization. To-

ward the end of this evening session, the generator failed and the room went dark. Within seconds, numerous participants had pulled out their cell phones and used them as flashlights for the speaker. This continued to the end, including a closing section in which each person offered a reflection. This dedication — despite daily circumstances — is a testament to the participants’ commitment to human rights, advocacy efforts and the heart of the work: a world in which Deaf people are respected and included as equal partners. The PFD had previously completed work on its mission and vision. The capacity-building sessions furthered the collaborative work by focusing on the relationship (including communications), and roles and responsibilities of PFD and its member organizations. As is the case with every partnership, the learning was mutual. I would be remiss if I did not mention some of the cultural aspects of this exchange. Historically, the Philippines has been swept up in the wars of other countries; its beauty and history are often overlooked. Personally, I came away with a deeper appreciation of the importance of Filipino-defined leadership and place in the world. PFD is involved in key cross-disability coalitions, particularly those focusing on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD) as a part of its national advocacy strategy. The UNCRPD, modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been ratified by the Philippine Congress. We were fortunate to attend the launch of the UNCRPD parallel report directly addressing the gaps and inequities currently experienced by people with disabilities, including

Heather harker leads a capacity-building session. Deaf people, in the Philippines. The Philippines has ratified the treaty and has launched this parallel report; while the U.S. has yet to ratify the treaty. Indeed, we have much to learn. There is now an expanding network of Deaf and interpreter peers across the Philippines and the U.S. who have a direct relationship with one another. Continued collaboration will help create a world in which Deaf people and their linguistic and cultural rights are not only recognized, but also celebrated. Heather Harker is the Director of Consulting and Executive Transitions at Third Sector New England in Boston. Participating in the ECA Sponsored EMPOWER program in the Philippines was her first experience working with DDW.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – nelson mandela

December 2013



Shout-Outs Mike Rizzolo and the Interpretek Team: Your generosity to DDW is unprecedented. Thank you for the reassurance and confidence when our staff needed it most! Elizabeth Bjerke, Susan & Paul Wilkens, Maria Justice, Susan & Richard Rizzo, Richard & Ann Ladner, Susan & Scot Miller, Rob Troy, Martin & Suzi Oppenheimer, Ken Mikos, Kenneth Bain, Marcy & Joe Oppenheimer: It is amazing what can be accomplished when so many philanthropic minds offer support for a common goal. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to DDW’s mission! Cam McDermid and the ASLIE Team: Thank you for combining your creative energy with your professional network to help raise funds for DDW! What a great success, and what an honor!! Yvette Apurado-B., Rey Alfred Lee, Natividad Natividad, George Lintag, Patrick Ablaza, Rowella Tanjusay, Hazel Bual, Jet Romo, Jessie Flores, Mackie Calbay, and Raphy Domingo: We continue to be humbled by the incredible work you do. Salute to the long-lasting partnership of PFD and DDW! Dr. Scot Atkins, Elizabeth Jean-Baptiste, Melanie DeleonBenham, Heather Harker, Sarah Houge, David Justice, Jamie Munro, Christie Ong, Allie Rice, Julie Schafer, and Davin Searls: Thank you for your insight and valuable contributions to the Department of State- sponsored EMPOWER program. What an experience! John, Bayani, Naty, Roni, Febe, Liza, Rainer, Hilton, and Karen: Thank you for your commitment to provide accessibility for our November EMPOWER program – it was such a pleasure to work with you all!

Discovering Deaf Worlds December 2013 Newsletter, vol. 7, issue 2  

Our final newsletter issue of 2013 reflects on all these things, including: * A year-end message from DDW Executive Director Davin Searls, w...

Discovering Deaf Worlds December 2013 Newsletter, vol. 7, issue 2  

Our final newsletter issue of 2013 reflects on all these things, including: * A year-end message from DDW Executive Director Davin Searls, w...