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Volume 2 Issue 2 September 2008

DDW: A Year in Review

Chinese dance teams are making headlines

• • • •

Expanding work opportunities in Thailand

63,203 kilometers (39,186 miles) traveled by air, train, and bus 113 hours of video footage documented 101 deaf schools, organizations, NGOs, clubs and worksites discovered 27 1/2 languages exposed to: 20-plus spoken/written and 7 1/2 signed (Khmer Sign Language in Cambodia is currently being developed)

• 14 monthly newsletters distributed to 2,000 readers • 11 episodes of travelers’ diarrhea • 5 man-made wonders of the world visited (The Great Wall of China, Army of Terracotta, Angkor Wat, Taj Mahal and The Forbidden City)

• 0 physical threats, thefts or major accidents in one year of travel

What is DDW? Dave Justice and Christy Smith are traveling the world to learn and share stories of empowerment, inspiration, and connection between international Deaf communities. Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW) is an opportunity to give deaf people worldwide a voice. For more information, photos, video logs, and newsletter stories, visit September 2008 1

A Look Back on DDW's Journeys


n s of New Zeala Deaf Association raising the bar

Australian Dea

f Games empow


ent Program Deaf Developm dia dence in Cambo creating indepen

Passionate teach

ers at schools in

ts are Japanese studen

Discovering vil


models tomorrow’s role

lagers in the mou

ntains of Nepal

Return to Rochester, NY, USA On September 25th, Dave and Christy will return to the United States. This will be DDW ’s final full-length newsletter for this year. Thank you for following our first adventure, and stay tuned for more DDW updates in the not-too-distant future! 2

Discovering Deaf Worlds

KFC: Employing Differently-Abled Staff Strolling through the backpacker district of Kolkata, India, you are likely to be bombarded by touts, hagglers, and witty salesmen trying to sell you everything under the sun: “Yes please, chai?” “Sir! Beautiful kurta for you?” “Henna painting for hands, madam?” But tucked away in a peaceful escape just around the corner from New Market, you will find a pleasant and unexpected surprise: a modern, deluxe KFC restaurant with nearly all-deaf staff! Following the trend of similar KFCs in Singapore and Egypt, the day-to-day operations are run by 25 deaf employees (out of a total of 30 staff). “It is our responsibility to our country,” states Area Manager Paratha Roy, “to provide opportunities for deaf people to give back to the community.” Whereas most restaurants worldwide will only hire deaf people to work ‘behind the scenes,’ the New Market KFC has hired deaf cooks, counter servers, and greeters who directly communicate with customers. When asked if there is ever a problem with miscommunication between employees and customers, Roy responded, “99% of the time there is no difference.” Laminated menus full of pictures and prices are used for taking orders and gestures with a smile are served. For example, holding up seven fingers then pointing to the sky signifies “7UP” and a frantic wave of one hand in front of your mouth asks, “Do you want that spicy?” They even replaced the sound buzzer with a flashing red light to alert the cooks when a new order has been placed. Deaf employees are not treated any different than their hearing co-workers. They must hold a minimum

September 27: Happy International Deaf Day!

Come to New Market KFC! education level of grade 10 and pass the same 31-day training sessions as all KFC employees. Managers receive a foundation of visual communication skills when they undergo a three-day intensive sign language course offered by the Silence Training Institute. They learn Indian Sign Language and fingerspelling, as well as signs related to everyday interactions such as hot wings, sandwiches and soda spills. After spending a full day in the shadows documenting the New Market KFC and several return visits, we felt nothing but friendly, upbeat vibes between managers, staff and customers. Hands waving! Thank you, KFC, for providing equal opportunities to the deaf community and proving your success! We look forward to seeing the impact you will have on the restaurant industry worldwide to follow your example.

Donate to DDW at: www.discovering

September 2008 3

A Thank You to Our Sponsors The Next Generation of WebSites Take charge of your site Your website is your brand. It’s you, Your company, appearing in the landscape… Take charge today!

Ralph P. DeStephano

add your logo or banner to the DDW website!

Over 19,000 cumulative hits from 103 countries! Contact for more information, options, and pricing.


Discovering Deaf Worlds

Shout -Outs! Shout Shout-Outs! -Outs! Kevin Perdeaux...thank you for the much needed laughing yoga motivation. We laughed more with you that week than most of this past year. Best of luck on your new endeavors in Michigan; Ganesh will be guiding you! Vivek Kothari…you have truly set an example of what it takes to create an environment that is accessible. Keep up the good work. We can’t thank you enough for your generous hospitality. AnPi, Charoo and the Delhi deaf community…thank you for opening up your arms and welcoming us to the gateway of India. We are forever connected! You, the reader...thank you for all of your support over the past year. You have helped us carry on our mission, and inspired us to continue our work.

Director Creates Own Accessibility Hovering above the city himself to teach his assistants landscape of Jaipur, Hotel Om sign language for two hours Tower stands as the tallest buildeach day, five days a week. Ining in Rajasthan, India. Guests vesting time and out-of-pocket can enjoy panoramic views and expenses, he continues to train authentic Indian, Chinese, or these assistants, who now facontinental meals from the recilitate communication between volving rooftop restaurant (a full local staff and top-end corporate revolution takes 60 minutes), or executives. a refreshing dip in the rooftop During the time we spent at pool from 180 feet high. This Hotel Om Tower, we were not four-star establishment offers only impressed with the sign 60 deluxe, theme, and executive language skills of Kothari’s two suites and an unparalleled level assistants, but of the overall of hospitality. “deaf-friendliness” of the entire A warm welcome from the deaf staff While we were mesmerized staff. Receptionists, bellhops, of four-star Hotel Om Tower by the beauty of this structure, and restaurant servers were all what makes it unique in the eyes quick to use a sign or gesture, or of DDW is the story behind its comfortably write to make comexecutive director. Born deaf, Vivek Kothari spent munication happen. Kothari has most of his years working his way up in the famalso opened doors to the deaf ily business, Om Metals Infraprojects, Ltd. When community by hiring six fullHotel Om Tower was established in 2003, Kothari time deaf staff. seized the opportunity and earned his right to beIn a country where education come the hotel’s executive director. and employment opportuniAcknowledging that the majority of his 130ties for deaf people are severely plus employees are hearing, Kothari refuses to let limited, Kothari proves to be a communication barriers interfere. Since there are thriving success and crucial role Vivek Kothari no professional sign language interpreters or inmodel to the deaf community of terpreter training programs in Jaipur, or the entire India. He is a profound example state of Rajasthan, Kothari decided to create his of the statement, “where there’s own accessibility. Two assistants were hired through a will, there’s a way.” the human resources department, upon one condition: that they be willing and open to learn how to For more information on Hotel Om Tower, visit communicate in sign language. Kothari took it upon

Newsletter services provided by T.S. Writing Services, LLC A Deaf-Owned Company

India is not Calcutta and Bombay. India lives in her seven hundred thousand villages. - Mahatma Gandhi

September 2008 5

Earn While You Learn:

Creating Financial Independence for Deaf Women lutions. 35 years later, this organization has blossomed into a vocational training and employment center geared towards low-income women and girls in the fields of batik painting, leather craft, beauty culture, tailoring, book binding, embroidery, and computers. Sign language courses and English language development are also offered to help fill in the gaps of limited public education. The DFDW brochure states, “DFDW has a mission to help women with hearing impairment walk Christy with the amazing women of DFDW tall and confident with other women in India and become productive and contributing members of sociWhere are all the deaf women of India? Travel- ety.” Not only does DFDW give these women opporing across Northern India these past two months, we tunities to “earn as they learn,” but they also provide more or less only met men working for deaf associa- the Pranay Milan Sammelan matrimonial service for tions, foundations, and clubs. But that all changed those searching for a deaf mate! While DFDW is expanding at an incredibly rapid when we arrived in New Delhi to discover The Delhi Foundation of Deaf Women (DFDW), a story of pace, these women are in need of a larger workspace. ordinary women who have had to lead extraordinary DFDW’s current vision is to own their own land lives. With a double barrier to overcome from a cul- where they will build their dream house to accomture that subordinates education and job training for modate for the high demand of aspiring young deaf females, and often misunderstands or neglects deaf- women seeking financial independence. If you want to support this strong willed women’s organization ness, these women have taken charge of their lives. DFDW began in 1973 as a support group for deaf continue to rise, visit or e-mail them women to share their experiences and brainstorm so- at

Indian Sign Language In each issue, DDW prints the fingerspelled alphabet of a visited country. This image of the ISL fingerspelling alphabet, provided by The Deaf Way, is one of several variations. With the diversity of multiple languages used throughout India, some letters, particularly vowels, are spelled differently depending on the region. There currently is no fingerspelling alphabet for Hindi or other native Indian languages. For more information on The Deaf Way, visit


Discovering Deaf Worlds

Our Job isn't Done: Donations Still Needed Our successful yearlong journey of discovering deaf worlds would not have been possible without your support. As we prepare for our return to the U.S., fundraising efforts will now shift toward video editing and captioning. Our intention is to create a one hour, international deaf awareness special in the likes of PBS or the Discovery Channel. We are currently coordinating with video specialists and need your help! The price tag for such a film incorporating multiple signed and spoken languages may reach as high as $60,000. We will soon begin approaching sponsors and Thank you for believing in us! other networks for funding, but your collective donations of $20-25 can help jumpstart this process for video logging and scripting. If you have enjoyed reading our newsletter and are feeling generous today, please make a small donation to help us see this project through. Donations can be made online or by mail. For more information, visit

International Travel Tidbits No change, not possible... This is too often the response when you want to pay a taxi driver or buy a bottle of water. ATMs only spit out bills of large denominations, which hardly anyone will accept in your day-to-day routine. To avoid wasting massive chunks of time searching for change on the side of the road, or being pressured into overpaying, best to head straight to a bank from the ATM and exchange your money for smaller notes. A packing luxury...While jumping from one city to the next, you will inevitably end up in a not-so-pleasant sleeping situation with dirty sheets and creepy crawlers – be it on an overnight train or bus, or at a dirty guesthouse. In the summertime heat, a sleeping bag liner sheet will keep you cool and shield you from waking up with multiple bug bites or mysterious rashes. City tour for less than $1... When you first arrive to a new, unknown destination, here’s a great way to find your bearings: hire a bicycle rickshaw to show you around town. Most will only charge 20-30 Rs per hour (50-75 cents). Just be sure to make one rule: No shopping side trips!

Have Dave and Christy Come Visit You!

Schedule a presentation with Discovering Deaf Worlds at your school, organization or club!

September 2008 7

September 2008 Newsletter: vol.2, iss.2  

• 63,203 kilometers (39,186 miles) traveled by air, train, and bus • 113 hours of video footage documented • 101 deaf schools, organizations...

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