Page 1

Volume 4, Issue 1

September 2010

A coffee shop, a legacy, a future Reclaiming the vision that was...

By Raphael Domingo, Former PFD President In the 1970s, a walk through Luneta Park in Manila, The Philippines, would have lured one’s senses to the aromas coming from a unique coffee shop. While the shop itself served great-tasting coffee, cakes, and doughnuts, its fame was attributed to those who served the food. Established by the Philippine Association of the Deaf (PAD) on June 1, 1969, it was the only coffee shop in the world run entirely by Deaf people at the time. Customers sipped their coffee in awe and amazement as they saw attendants, waiters, dishwashers, chefs, cashiers, managers and supervisors – all Deaf! The PAD Coffee Shop was the principal source of revenue that financed the construction of PAD’s new office building. PAD’s Deaf founder, Pedro M. Santos, had always dreamed of the day when he could exclaim, “That is the building of the deaf, by the deaf and for the deaf!” But he died on May 31, 1970

What is DDW? Discovering Deaf Worlds is a 501(c)(3) non-profit international deaf advocacy organization dedicated to empowering deaf and hard of hearing communities in developing countries. DDW strives to advance the capacity of local deaf communities around the globe to meet their social, educational and employment needs. For more information, visit

The streets of downtown Manila without seeing the PAD building completed. Through his leadership, zeal and enthusiasm, however, the foundation was laid, and others of equal and unrelenting dedication carried on his dream until it was fulfilled. The construction of the magnificent two-story building was officially constructed on a 1000-square meter lot on October 17, 1973. Inside this building, there was a Deaf school, a livelihood (vocational) training center, medical and dental clinics, a conference hall, modern canteen, and counseling, interpreting, and social work services for Deaf Filipinos. There was even a basketball court that was later converted into an auditorium where programs, seminars, social and cultural activities were held. PAD wanted to guarantee subsequent generations a bright future, and for a time, it was able to realize that vision. Unfortunately, PAD dissolved in the 1990s due to mismanagement, and consequently, both the PAD Coffee Shop and the office building closed down. PAD’s demise was devastating. Who now would further realize this vision? For six long years, there was silence. During this time, the Filipino Deaf community lagged behind less progressive and less developed countries in the AsiaContinued on page 2 September 2010 1

A coffee shop

At that time, PFD had funding, and there were jobs for Continued from front page Deaf people in the organiPacific region. Deaf Filipinos zation. Along with financial wanted to form an alternastability came the zest to do tive association that would something more importantpromote their human rights advocating for Filipino Sign in the Philippine society. This Language and conducting led to the organization of the valuable training of its member Philippine Federation of the organizations. However, with Deaf (PFD) in 1997. At the onthe completion of these projset, PFD board members felt ects and the end of grant fundlike they were starting from ing came a lull in the advocacy, scratch. The task at hand was activities and enthusiasm of overwhelming, and PFD strugPFD and its officers. A concept Pedro M. Santos (center) with gled to address any pressing proposal for the PDDC was fellow students at Gallaudet College issues and concerns. submitted to the World Bank, PFD conceived the idea of but it was turned down. Conestablishing a Philippine Deaf sequently, PFD members reDevelopment Center (PDDC), a modern-day embodi- gressed to dealing with the daily grind of survival and ment of PAD’s original office building. Ideally, PDDC’s ceased to be involved in the Deaf community at large. establishment would enable Deaf Filipinos to become Most Deaf Filipinos consider it more important to productive members of society by acquiring quality address the need to survive, rather than advocate for education, livelihood training, organizational manage- their human rights. Deaf Filipinos are often too busy ment skills, and by having access to interpreting ser- with their personal lives to be involved in the Deaf vices. The PDDC was meant to be a place where Deaf Continued on page 3 people could learn to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

Come Travel with DDW and Engage in Deaf Communities Around the World! Zip line through tree tops in Costa Rica, visit the famous Buddhist Temples at Angkor Wat, or float through a Thai boat market. At the same time, you meet deaf leaders, learn about the issues, and participate in a solution. All tours have local deaf guides and are accessible in American Sign Language, English, and the Native Sign Language of the country you visit. Learn about the international projects DDW has pledged to support, and help make a difference by joining us on a DDW: Journey! Tour costs have built in donations that will go directly to the local deaf schools and associations you connect with along the way! For more information, contact

DDW: Journeys are now available to Costa Rica and Thailand/Cambodia! Please visit our website for itineraries and costs:


Discovering Deaf Worlds

A coffee shop Continued from page 2 community. With the evident apathy of these Deaf leaders, how then can they get others to lobby for the many issues facing Deaf Filipinos? PFD should learn from history and from its predecessor, PAD. How soon will Deaf Filipinos, our leaders and youth, forget the lessons of the past? The 300 Deaf men and women at the PAD Coffee Shop were dedicated, patient and courageous. They tirelessly worked to finance the construction of the PAD building in order to leave a monument, to build something the Deaf could call their own, something to inspire those who would follow. Deaf Filipinos of today must look back with gratitude to PAD’S legacy and honor PAD’s founder, Pedro M. Santos, who was selfless in building a structure where Deaf Filipinos could live better lives with equal opportunities to those of hearing people. Successfully building the PDDC will reclaim that vision – the “home” that the Deaf Filipinos once had, but lost in futility. Deaf Filipinos must roll up their sleeves and take that giant leap of faith. The PDDC is not just a building – an edifice of cement, iron and steel that can

The completed PAD office building be easily defaced with the passing of time– but a monument of struggle, a place where Deaf Filipinos are unified by a common purpose and united by a shared vision, a haven where Deaf people will plant the seeds of hopes and dreams. In time, the fruits will be reaped in their fullness. That’s what it is all about! PFD still hopes that one day the establishment of the PDDC shall come to pass. For more information or to learn how you can help, please visit en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Philippine_Federation_of_the_Deaf, or contact Raphael Domingo at

September 2010 3

Sri Lanka, by any other name communities there were cut off from the rest of the Sri Lanka, pearl of the island. Within months afIndian Ocean, has been ter reunification, however, known by many different CFD held an all-island names in its long history: conference with delegates Serendib (from which the from the northern provword serendipity is deinces, and found they rived), Ceilão, Lankadwere still using the same weepa, Pa-Outchow, sign language as the rest Taprobane, and Ceylon. of the country. In addition, Rohana Special School graduates dressed in People either know Sri schools from the south set red gowns pose with their schoolmates. Lanka for its 25-year civil up week-long field trips to war, which just ended in visit their northern coun2009, or for its location and shape, like a teardrop terparts and vice-versa, hanging off the southern tip of India. Still others proving the bonds of sign know it as a victim of the 2004 tsunami, in which language and Deaf culture 35,000 Sri Lankans perished and 500,000 were are easy to make and hard displaced. to sever. Fortunately, I have come to know Sri Lanka on The main concerns of more affectionate terms, for the tropical flora so Sri Lanka’s Deaf communilush it is almost absurd, the fiery Sinhalese cuisine ty are language, jobs, and of rice and curry (some say it is even hotter than rights. In the last few years, south Indian food), the austere, orthodox approach the Deaf community has to Buddha’s teachings, and, of course, its vibrant been vigorously promotDeaf community. ing SLSL by publishing a Adam Stone with Rohana In 2006-2007, I lived in Sri Lanka for nine national dictionary in 2008 Special School students. months, and returned for a short period in 2008. and an online dictionary in The ILY sign is universal! All of my time there was spent volunteering at Ro2009 ( hana Special School in Matara, a small city on Sri Many local Deaf associaLanka’s southern coast. The school has about 100 stu- tions have set up job training and placement services dents, most of whom are Deaf. Like many other special (mainly for information technology, carpentry, and maschools in Asia, students who are blind or have cogni- sonry), and a few have even started their own Deaf-run tive disabilities also attend. banks. And while hard of hearing Sri Lankans are alEven though the island of Sri Lanka is only the size lowed to attain a driver’s license, CFD continues to petiof Georgia, busy and bumpy roads turn short distanc- tion hard to allow deaf people the same right. es into long journeys. Rohana, therefore, is one of 19 But what of my experiences in Sri Lanka? Every day “deaf” residential schools scattered throughout the is- was full of surprise and wonder; there’s still a part of land. There are also Deaf associations in each of Sri me left behind in that country. While Sri Lanka may lack Lanka’s provinces and districts, all governed by the iconic structures like New Delhi’s Taj Mahal or BangCentral Federation of the Deaf (CFD) near the capital kok’s Grand Palace, it makes up for this lack with a rich, city of Colombo. deep history of the fierce preservation of Buddhism; Unlike India, its larger neighbor to the north, Sri Lan- there is a famous temple dedicated to a single tooth ka holds native just three languages: Sinhala, Tamil, and of Buddha. There are also ancient monuments making English, and its Deaf population uses a single national homage to past kingdoms – Sigiriya is often called the sign language: Sri Lankan Sign Language (SLSL). eighth wonder of the world – and fantastic beaches evA few recent events have proved just how easily erywhere you turn such as Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, Unawathe Deaf community can transcend political divisions. tuna, and Aragam Bay. During most of the 25-year civil war, the entire northContinued on page 5 ern third of the island was closed off, meaning its Deaf By Adam Stone


Discovering Deaf Worlds

Reaching out in Campo-Azul, Paraguay

Lissy (back left) and Mike taught Ana Maria (far left) and others about good oral hygiene. By Michael Mazzaroppi A while back, I met a woman named Lissy who traveled two or three times a year from Austin, Texas, to Campo-Azul, a small village in Paraguay. While working there, she noticed several deaf children in this community of about 500 people. Unfortunately, most of them were not attending school. Lissy was told, “They are dumb; they cannot learn.” She also noticed that families often thought their deaf children were incapable and did just about everything for them. “They were not even given house chores like their siblings,” Lissy said. Of course Lissy knew this was a misconception, but she wasn’t familiar with deaf education and did not know how to respond. At the time, I was working at the Texas School for the Deaf, so she sought my advice as a deaf person. When Lissy first asked me if I would like the opportunity to travel with her to Campo-Azul, I told her, “Absolutely!” before realizing I had no idea where Campo-Azul was located. To be honest, I wasn’t even that familiar with Paraguay. But needless to say, I learned quickly.

Sri Lanka Continued from page 4 One of my biggest frustrations, however, is that very few deaf Americans, and only one deaf foreigner from England that I am aware of, have visited the country in the past decade. This has motivated me to coordinate a group trip to Sri Lanka next summer. On this tour, we will see famous Buddhist temples and rock fortresses, visit an elephant orphanage, and connect with deaf students at Rohana Special School. Led by two deaf Sri Lankans and me, the tour will be accessible in both ASL

Located in South America, Paraguay is about the size of California and is bordered by Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. It is a country of fascinating contrasts: it is simple and old-world, yet busy and sophisticated; there is extreme poverty and obscene wealth – it is a place where horses ride next to Mercedes-Benzes; and you can catch a $1.00 meal from a street vendor or have an elegant five-star meal that will empty your wallet. From the capital city of Asuncion, it took seven hours to reach Campo-Azul. First, we took a Greyhoundtype bus, then transferred to an old, rickety school bus where there were even chickens on board. When the bus came to a halt, we traveled the last two hours by foot because there were no more paved roads. Campo-Azul is quite a remote village, hugging the southeastern border of Brazil. There is no electricity, no running water, and no place to take a shower or go to the bathroom. The houses and school have window frames but no glass panes, and at night or during cool weather, windows are boarded up. Though it was a huge adjustment at first, I grew to love being there. Since the villagers did not have access to medical care, it was thought that deafness was the result of a disease or illness going around at the time. I worked closely with eight families who had deaf children from ages 5 to 10. While I did many things for the community, my main job became serving as a deaf role model. I brought the children to the school and included them in the lessons. Since I was a Deaf teacher, I was able to prove that deaf children could learn and contribute back to their community. I also worked on making communication booklets for the students so they could better express their needs by pointing to images. I taught basic gestures Continued on page 6 and SLSL. If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please visit my website. Perhaps in the future, with support from DDW: Journeys, we can provide annual tours to engage in the culture, adventure and deaf community of Sri Lanka. Adam Stone just received his master’s degree in ASL/English bilingual education from University of California, San Diego, and is now a kindergarten teacher at P.S. 47 in New York City. While living in Sri Lanka, he blogged the equivalent of a book, which can be viewed at

September 2010 5


“MIKE” and pointing to myself. I then pointed to her and asked for her name. She looked at me, shrugged, and looked at her mother. Her mother took the stick Continued from page 5 and wrote “ANNA MARIA.” Anna Maria pointed to to use with the many herself looking perplexed, and her mother nodded afhome signs they were firmatively. For eight years, she didn’t know she had already using to coma name. municate. I chose not Everyday for three months, these children learned to teach American Sign something new. Their young minds were like spongLanguage because I es, trying to absorb everything at once. Though it was didn’t want to impose quite tiring at times, I will never forget my experiences my culture on them. in Campo-Azul, and I can only hope I had a lasting During my time at Mike (back center) with his impact on the deaf children as well as the community. Campo-Azul, I was host family in Paraguay; At the same time, I learned just as much from them. surprised to learn that the deaf son is at center. Since returning to the states, I have never heard many of these students, from them directly, since there is no postal system both hearing and deaf, in Campo-Azul. So I am grateful to receive updates had never seen a pen write on paper. Paper is too expensive and seen as a from Lissy who continues her biannual journeys to offwaste – and if there isn’t paper, then there aren’t pen- the-beaten path places in Paraguay. cils either. Instead, many of the children used small Michael Mazzaroppi is currently a special education chalkboards and carried chalk in their pockets, just like on the popular 1970s TV show, “Little House on the advocate in Central New York, advocating for children Prairie.” After completing an assignment, they erased with disabilities to receive appropriate support and actheir notes and started a new one. When I showed how commodations in an inclusive classroom. He worked a pen and paper worked, there was pure wonder and at a school for the deaf in Japan for two years, and has also been to the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, joy from these kids. I also witnessed an eight-year-old girl, Anna Ma- Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Thailand. He will soon visit ria, learn of her name for the first time. When we met, Cambodia on a DDW: Journey. For more information, I wrote my name in the dirt with a stick, spelling out contact Michael at

Did you know...? The Philippines is regarded as the “text capital of the world.” About 350 to 400 million short message service (SMS) or text messages are sent daily by 35 million cell phone subscribers in the country. This is more than the total daily text messages sent in the U.S. and Europe – combined!

Newsletter services provided by T.S. Writing Services, LLC A Deaf-Owned Company 6

Discovering Deaf Worlds

A thank you to our sponsors

Ralph P. DeStephano

Book Review: Deaf in DC: A Memoir In his first memoir, Deaf in Delhi, Madan Vasishta described being a deaf boy in his homeland India, where “deaf” meant someone who was not human. After rising from herding cattle to being a respected photographer in Delhi, his first memoir concluded with his acceptance at Gallaudet College in America. Vasishta’s new memoir, Deaf in DC, begins with his arrival in Washington, D.C. in 1967 with $40 in his pocket and very little knowledge of the new worlds he was entering. Vasishta faced myriad challenges from the outset: he knew no American Sign Language and could not speechread; yet he found himself thrust into classes at Gallaudet two weeks into the semester. Cultural differences mystified him, such as how all American car accidents were someone else’s fault even when one’s car had hit a stationary object. He was amazed that his fellow students did not deride him for his mistakes, unlike in India where he would have been scorned for his weakness. After five years, he returned to India for a visit and was stunned to learn that he no longer fit in, that “even if you do not have an American Dream, the American Dream will have you.” Deaf in DC follows him through half a century living in America. He experienced the transformation from facing bias as a deaf, foreign man of color who could

not get a job despite having a Ph.D. to receiving five offers as a school superintendent in the wake of the civil rights and Deaf President Now movements. His memoir reflects a genuine worldview informed by the sage perceptions of a person who has lived widely in many worlds. Vasishta is an associate professor with the Gallaudet University Department of Administration and Supervision in Washington, D.C. He is also a DDW board member.

Order a copy today! To order a copy of Deaf in DC, visit http://gupress. Fifty percent of the royalties from this memoir will be donated to Discovering Deaf Worlds.

DDW board member is appointed to White House fellowship

New DDW website coming soon! Highlights include: • ASL video translations • New DDW logo • Interactive map showing where DDW is connected • Profiles of DDW’s team

On June 22, Khadijat “Kubby” Rashid was one of 13 people appointed to a White House Fellowship. Born in Nigeria, Rashid now lives in Jessup, Md., and has been a member of Gallaudet University’s faculty since 1994. She Khadijat “Kubby” was chair of the Department of Rashid, Ph.D. Business at Gallaudet, and has served on boards for the World Deaf Leadership Program, Maryland School for the Deaf, and DDW. DDW gives hearty congratulations to Kubby for this prestigious opportunity. Her accomplishments are well-earned and exhilarate a sense of pride through our organization. For more information, visit www.whitehouse. gov/the-press-office/white-house-appoints-20102011-class-white-house-fellows. September 2010 7

Kolkata Deaf Academy/Vocational Center Update DDW has joined a collaborative effort to assist the deaf community in Kolkata, India, by establishing a Deaf Academy/Vocational Center (DA/VC). The DA/ VC concept began last year with Spaniard Carlos Mayans, who taught computer classes to deaf students at Uddami, a computer-training center for disadvantaged women and youth. The DA/VC will continue to pair Indian and foreign professionals with deaf Indian adults to co-teach various vocational skills to deaf Indian youth. The goal is to eventually phase out foreign involvement until the DA/VC is run by and for deaf Indians. The following organizations are collaborating to make this project happen: • Shuktara (Kolkata, India) – will refer deaf students to the DA/VC, assist in identifying applicable vocational trades, work with DDW to involve Kolkata-based businesses, and provide legal guidance. • The Deaf Way Foundation (Delhi, India) – will assist in the recruitment of Indian deaf faculty and interpreters. • Global Reach Out (Washington, D.C.) – will provide leadership training to deaf teachers and students through annual delegations.

Carlos Mayans talks with a group of Shuktara boys. Noida Deaf Society (Delhi, India) – will provide vocational training and curriculum models. • Uddami (Kolkata, India) – will provide the computer training center venue as well as computers and additional educational materials. DDW will lead the way in coordinating activities of all DA/VC partner organizations, in addition to securing teachers, training, educational resources, and other personnel to facilitate DA/VC operations. Madan Vasishta, DDW board member and Program Development Committee Chair, and Davin Searls, DDW Executive Director and DA/VC Coordinator, will visit India this winter to synchronize involvement among all the participating organizations. •

For more information or regular updates, contact Davin Searls at

Travel Tidbits •

If you’re worried about your camera being stolen, make it ugly! Rice is more than something to eat. It can also dry out electronics, whether it’s moisture from your hearing aids or juice from your laptop computer. Do not turn your gadget on! Instead, take out the battery, remove all peripherals, and place the gadget in a bag or bowl of rice for 24 hours before turning it on again. Photo courtesy of


Discovering Deaf Worlds

Spotlight on Lauren Bain By Lauren Bain DDW Journeys Costa Rica Coordinator For a long time, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to become involved with the deaf community on an international level. I’m excited to say I’m now doing that Lauren Bain as part of DDW’s staff! I strongly believe in DDW’s mission to support local change, as it is presumptuous to go in with “the American perspective” and tell people what they should do. DDW’s approach, however, is to interact, research, and learn about international deaf communities- then support local efforts enacting that change through various means. I am reminded of this every day I work with DDW, and it’s a humbling experience. DDW has been developing a new website which will launch soon! As part of that process, I’ve worked with a fantastic group of ASL sign masters, translating the content of our new website into American Sign Lan-

guage (ASL). It’s been an eye-opening experience because it takes serious attention to detail to ensure the ASL translations are accurate. My predominant role with DDW, however, has been as DDW’s Costa Rica Coordinator under the DDW: Journeys program. For the past six months, I have worked with members of ANASCOR, the local deaf association in Costa Rica, on a project to create a DVD on deaf rights in LESCO (Costa Rican Sign Language). I’ve been extremely impressed with ANASCOR’s commitment and determination. What was originally submitted to us as a two-paragraph request for help has evolved into a detailed 12-page proposal. Throughout this process, we have also learned much about Costa Rican culture, and I’m excited to visit Costa Rica in February to meet face-to-face with the people we have been working with on this project. Many more exciting things happening with DDW in the next few months. Stay tuned! To learn more about how you can join Lauren on a DDW Journey to Costa Rica, visit www.gophilanthropic. com/you/deaftravel.php.

September 2010 9

Christy's IVCD project at Shuktara with extremely limited resources for deaf children and young adults In 2007, I fulfilled a lifelong and the educators or caregivers dream of traveling the world to who work with them. IVCD will discover what was happening in be a collaborative effort, dependdeaf communities abroad. During ing on the people and resources DDW’s 2007-2008 World Tour, I of NTID, deaf advocacy groups, visited over 100 deaf schools and and various experts who may also organizations in eight countries. In be called in to help and work with Kolkata, India, I visited the Shukthe project at various junctions. tara home, and the group of 20 The goal is to promote shared Shuktara kids hang out young adults there changed my life knowledge and research the mulon their rooftop. in more ways than one. titude of the current societal and After traveling with DDW, I reeducational problems to evaluate alized how blessed I have been as a deaf person to and improve the quality of life for the international deaf receive a wonderful education and to live in a place population. where I had opportunities. I decided to attend the NaIndia is my first country of choice to visit and detertional Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) in Roches- mine what barriers are present in order to make these ter, N.Y., to pursue a Master of Science in Secondary changes to improve the lives of deaf people in India, Education (MSSE) to learn how to help others strive to- as well as other developing countries. This is a chance wards receiving the same blessings in their countries. for me to strive to achieve the system changes that To realize this quest, I returned to the very place that are needed to overcome the various inequalities that captured my heart: Shuktara, which has welcomed me the deaf are experiencing. I hope my project cannot back to live, learn and grow with them. With the help of only provide change, but also can someday be a model the wonderful people living at Shuktara, and the knowl- educational system. edgeable people of NTID, I have created the International Versatile Curriculum for the Deaf Project (IVCD). Christy Smith is a co-founder of Discovering Deaf IVCD focuses on the issues surrounding deaf so- Worlds. She is implementing the IVCD project as part cietal and educational issues around the world. The of her MSSE capstone with RIT. If you are interested project, established last August, is a response to the in following Christy’s journey in India, find her fan page dismal lack of opportunities for the deaf in countries on Facebook. By Christy Smith

Shout-Outs! Shout-Outs! Shout-Outs! Patrick Graybill, Deirdre Schlehofer, Jeremy Quiroga, Austin Andrews, Shana Gibbs, Jeanne Behm, and Eve Wiggins: Thank you for your wisdom, talent and dedication to translate and film DDW’s website into ASL this summer. Outstanding! Alma, Naty, Phil, Auch, Raphy, Janice, Dann, Gilda, and many more: Thank you for your warm welcome to the Philippines – we hope to visit again before too long! Ana Tobin: You worked your magic to make DDW’s


Discovering Deaf Worlds

logo just right! Thank you to Marrianne Benjamin and the Dibona, Bornstein & Random team for jump-starting this project. Wade and Devin Holdraker: We know you have gone the extra mile, putting countless pro bono hours into DDW’s website. The final product is stunning! You are appreciated. Maria Nikolaou: Welcome to the DDW team! You have proven to be a great asset to this organization and we are thrilled to have you on board.

September 2010 Newsletter: vol.4 iss.1  

This month's issue shares the legacy of a deaf-run Filipino coffee shop, offers a glimpse of village life in Campo-Azul, Paraguay, and expla...

September 2010 Newsletter: vol.4 iss.1  

This month's issue shares the legacy of a deaf-run Filipino coffee shop, offers a glimpse of village life in Campo-Azul, Paraguay, and expla...