Newsletter #3

Page 1

March 4, 2010

Volume 1, Issue 3



Anita Kurian Assistant Program Coordinator Participating in GRO Thailand ’08 and GRO Kenya ’09 - Anita assumed the momentous task of Assistant Coordinator for GRO India ’09. Namaste! My name is Anita Kurian, and I am a former student at RIT majoring in Biotechnology. I felt something was missing within my passion. I heard a lot about Global Reach Out the entire time I was at RIT, and decided to apply to one delegation. I got accepted to GRO in Thailand, in the spring of 2008, and later decided to explore Cambodia with 5 other people. Both countries inspired me to learn more about the mission of GRO, but I still felt that I had not seen the full potential of my passion just yet. A year later, I participated in Kenya 2009, which was a huge inspirational experience. Kenya was always a country I dreamt of visiting as I had heard about many unforgettable experiences from others. By taking part in this experience, I felt there was a

need for me to challenge myself to take a higher rank in GRO than just a delegate because I began to see my passion unfold in front of my eyes: the passion to do something more within the Global Reach Out organization. I happened to hear that the next location for GRO this year was India, my sweet homeland! I was born in Kerala (South India) and moved to New Jersey for my education. My parents felt that my life would be not successful without resources, and India did not provide them. I have been raised to respect other cultures. I was excited to receive the offer to become the Assistant Program Coordinator for GRO India. I wanted to share my passion with anyone in the world and primarily the people in India. I was able to show my identity as a deaf Indian-American citizen that made a difference regardless of my disability and obstacles. This position was completely different from my experience of being a delegate. I was able to see how delegates performed while working with Indian delegates, brainstorming activity ideas, sharing laughs, expanding cultural awareness, and much more. This gave me the opportunity to sit back and remember the position of a delegate, which I took part in. As I obtained this opportunity as an Assistant Program Coordinator, I began to see how GRO functions and met our wonderful Point of Contact people in Kolkata, India. They helped us with their goals in bringing us to Kolkata. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed with the workload but the hard efforts always paid off in the end. As I watched the social interaction


between the delegates and deaf Indian campers, I began to see the idea of developing one big helping hand. The delegates developed sincere bonds even though it was a large group and few of them were already close friends with the delegates. We are all different, no one is really perfect, but we make a tremendous amount of effort to see things become successful. I was surprised to see how things changed, albeit slowly. I really miss the delegates in India and I certainly hope for the best for them. From this experience, no matter what position you or I am in, we always make a difference because we actually do believe in others and ourselves too. Without you, delegates, this would not be a success because you are the ones who bring the loving and caring inspirations to all the deaf citizens you have touched. They can feel it but they don’t know it yet, until others have an impact on them, opening their eyes to understand the power of their abilities regardless of their origin. Apply for the next GRO delegation and I guarantee you will have a once in a lifetime experience, the ability to grow as an individual, to spread your wings, and to inspire those who need the encouragement and motivation. My passion has been discovered and I am forever grateful for taking part in GRO. I will always try to the best of my ability to expand the roots of GRO in encouraging and inspiring people to become leaders, which is something I have discovered within myself.



[L to R] First Row: Carlos, Arnob, Gaurav Second Row: Shyam, Anita, Rachel, Kishan Third Row: Raul, Jocelyn, Sarah, Jody, Priyanka, Tamer, Vikas Fourth Row: Johney, Jess, Lauren Top of Tree: Raja, Shantara, Bharath



See what our delegates did on each day of the GRO India 2009 delegation with Blog & Twitter excerpts as well as pictures!

Learn more about Dhruv Lakra: founder of Mirakle Couriers, a socially forward entrepreneurship in India.

[p. 4 & 5]

[p. 10 ]



the last issue, the GRO staff shared their New Year’s Resolutions and we asked you to submit yours. See the results here! [p.16 & 17 ]


Bharath Hari Bharath first joined GRO as a delegate for GRO India Bangalore Delegation in 2007 and returned for the GRO India Kolkata 2009 Delegation. Originally from Bangalore and a graduate in Commerce, Bharath currently works as a designer and illustrator for DPOD Studios. GRO caught up with him recently to chat about the differences he experienced between both delegations.

Making a Difference Tamer Mahmoud, Assistant Program Director I was once told, “As long as we make a difference in the life of ONE camper, I am perfectly content.” A couple days later, I suddenly encountered this story of a girl from the Shuktara home, Neha (name changed to protect privacy). Neha attended the Deaf Sign Day Camp all week and was very sweet, young, and extremely bright for one who has special needs. While at home, Neha had problems with another girl that liked to hit her playfully, but could be quite rough towards Neha. Neha went to David Earp, the Director of Shuktara, to complain and David replied, ‘Well, what do you want to do about it?’ With this, Neha decided to approach the girl and told her, “Do you remember at the Deaf Camp, we learned that we need to respect each other, support each other, and listen to each other? Well, I want to let you know that I do not appreciate you hitting me and I would like it if you could stop.’” At that point, all the hard work, all the preparation, all the late nights; the entire purpose of coming to India hit me right in the middle of my chest, creating a lump in my throat, and in that instant – I felt more determined. I felt further affirmed about the contribution that I am making in another country.

According to Bharath, he feels both delegations were different from one another and he learned a lot more from Kolkata due to having more people to interact with. He states that the Kolkata delegation brought, “Others who had good knowledge and I had a great time interacting with them and learning a lot from them.” When asked about his favorite part of the delegation, Bharath mentioned Arnab and Priyanaka who were originally very shy and reserved, yet he saw a complete change in them after a few days, “They got along with everyone so well, I was surprised. This delegation is great exposure for people to share their knowledge and intelligence.”


If I could feel this way just from hearing a story, especially Neha’s story, imagine how the delegates feel on a daily basis while working closely with these campers for a whole week during Deaf Sign Day Camp. The Deaf Sign Day Camp focused on the crucial lessons of communication, advocacy, problem-solving skills, and preservation of Indian Sign Language (ISL). The Indian deaf campers learned and took to heart these lessons in ways that would have had an impact on their lives and possibly change their attitudes as deaf individuals. By combining seven U.S. and nine Indian delegates, the Deaf Sign Day Camp itself was a huge success. Now that you have read all of the above, it’s your turn to get that lump in your throat and that feeling right there in your chest. It is your turn to make a contribution in another country. Most of all, it is your turn to be part of the successes of the Global Reach Out Initiative! We have several exciting upcoming programs such as Thailand, Kenya, and India! Currently, we are accepting applications for the Kenya delegation that will take place July 20 August 8, 2010. Thailand is slated to take place between late July and early August. Our goal is to return to India between late December and early January. Be sure to apply for Kenya and keep your eyes peeled for the Thailand and India applications!



Sarah Houge on being a GRO Intern

During my experience as a Gallaudet student in the International Development Master's program, I heard about GRO and met the director, Alim. I supported the idea of working with youth and hosting an exchange type of program, as I had worked with youth in the past. I decided to spend a semester as an intern for GRO. In that position, I learned so much about the dynamics of a small organization – the type of (hard!) work that a group of committed and dedicated people can do, as well as the different responsibilities and duties that are needed to ensure the survival of an organization. I also observed the work of a new Board and the expectations that came with the roles on the Board. I enjoyed the experience tremendously and gained new insight in bottom-up and participatory development work for the deaf by the deaf. One of the challenges I found in working with GRO is that it is all voluntary and requires so much commitment and loyalty; everyone involved is already employed or a student and works on GRO during their free time. This is very common for deaf organizations and I sincerely hope to see GRO expand with a paid staff! As an intern, I knew about the GRO-India delegation and expressed my interest in participating. I was aware of all the planning that was taking place for this trip but distanced myself from any specifics so I could enjoy the

experience fully as a delegate. I also thought it would be an awkward transition from an intern to delegate, but it was not like that at all. Except for several discussions with the program staff about development related information based on my experience (such as program evaluation), I focused entirely on being a delegate in India. I truly enjoyed the GRO-India delegation despite being attacked by bed bugs on the first night in Mumbai before we left for Kolkata! I found the delegation group to have a nice variety in ages and background, as well as volunteer experiences. I was able to share some of the information I learned about India in my international development courses and my previous experiences as a volunteer in different areas of the world. It was very inspiring to see the Indian delegates, especially the most quiet ones, to blossom and become leaders for Indian Deaf youth towards the end of the delegation. They slowly became more confident and displayed their untapped skills during the Deaf Day Camp; they were excellent role models! As is common for many volunteer experiences, the GRO-India delegation was too short. We would also have liked to meet the Indian delegates sooner and have more time before we began work for the Deaf Day Camp. It was also a little difficult for some of us to learn the sign language (West Bengali) that is used in Kolkata as some of the delegates used ISL and others used American Sign Language (ASL) that they learned at a private school in Bangalore. Nevertheless, we all were able to understand and communicate with one another! I look forward to remaining in touch with the Indian delegates and see where their newfound confidence will take them in life and within their communities! I also hope that the relationship formed between GRO, Uddami, and Shuktara will grow with future projects and with the goal of improving the future of Deaf youth in India.


Arti Umrotkar Arti was one of the two women who participated in the GRO India Mumbai Delegation in 2007. After the Delegation, she wanted more leadership training and experiences. Well, you will not find her in India at the moment; she is currently in Japan for the next six months! Arti is a trainee in the 11th Duskin Leadership Training Program. She just completed the Deaf Women Conference in Miyazaki, Japan. With the program, she will be able to visit different deaf associations, learn about the use of mass media in the deaf community, deaf human rights, and so forth. Arti has an interest in learning more about developing an organization and improving already established organizations. Arti wants to develop more awareness, and how to use media to apply her knowledge and use it in India.






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Dr. Shilpa Hanumantha on being the GRO Board Chair

Lizzie is just one example of the many wonderful people we have working for GRO. I cannot stress enough how beyond thrilled we are to have a great group of people (new and old) working hard together as we continue to strengthen the mission and vision of GRO. At our first board meeting back in October of 2009, the members of the BOD were each assigned specific administrative tasks to be completed within this year in order to secure all Namaste to all! As the newly appointed internal and external avenues of Board Chair of the GRO Board of communication related to GRO, as well Directors (BOD), I have been given the as begin work on the 5-year Strategic opportunity to write about updates Vision Plan for 2015. As soon as the within the organization over the past spring season arrives, GRO will shift its few weeks. Even though I juggle a busy focus to running a variety of meetings, work and travel schedule as a full-time facilitating presentations/workshops, 2nd year post-doctoral research fellow planning the upcoming delegations, at Visual Language and Visual Learning and the next Open House event, and (VL2) at Gallaudet University, I continue much more. to stay on top of GRO daily through email, Facebook, Twitter, and the GRO As excited as I am about our upcoming website. The power of social media events, I am also pleased to reflect networking these days is nothing short upon our accomplishments over the of amazing especially when you past several months. One example is consider the fact that the Board of the successful implementation and use Directors, GRO staff members, of newsletters to get our message delegates, and volunteers alike are across to a broader audience. Our scattered all across America and Media Information Director, Katie Cue, around the world as well! has worked in close conjunction with Lizzie in designing, editing, and As you know, GRO invests a lot of time creating the layout of the GRO abroad, and as such, we were all newsletters, which has resulted in a profoundly affected by the recent combined total of over 5,000 views. January 12th earthquake in Haiti. Over Not only that, but other indispensable the past couple months, Lizzie Sorkin, staff members such as Dan Hamilton our Marketing Director invested a lot of have been hard at work behind the her time to plan and sponsor the scenes ensuring that the organization Spin-4-Haiti event along with Deaf runs smoothly. As our pro-bono Youth USA (DYUSA), Mezher Up, and Financial Manager, Dan has invested a the Gallaudet University Social Work lot of time and energy in creating new and International Development accounting procedures, regulations, Departments. Although the event was and financial documents that will serve ultimately cancelled due to a massive GRO well for many years to come. February snowstorm in the Speaking of irreplaceable staff Washington, D.C. region, donations members, Jeff Fredrickson’s excellent were still accepted and will be given to technological expertise and web the Friends of Monfort Inc., an design skills combined with Smitha organization which directly supports Hanumantha’s eye for design resulted the Institut Monfort School for the Deaf in a beautiful website that is both in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Institut informative and a terrific resource for all Monfort School for the Deaf has over to use both inside and outside of GRO. 600 deaf and deaf-blind children in Smitha has also joined the staff as a three locations. Those who donated Project Coordinator. Last but not least, were given the surprise of a t-shirt to recently, GRO went on its third thank them for their support! delegation to India and Tamer [8]

Mahmoud, our Program Assistant Director and Anita Kurian, the Assistant Coordinator ran a successful 2-week long delegation in Kolkata with 16 delegates. I have yet to mention one of the biggest contributors to GRO: Alim Chandani. As the founder and Executive Director, he continues to inspire us all with his passion, energy, and never-ending stream of ideas to make GRO successful. After meeting with some staff members and former delegates, both individually and in groups, I have been nothing but impressed and pleasantly surprised at the great amount of support from each and every person in regards to GRO. As some of you may already know (and others may be surprised by this); all of GRO’s endeavors and labors are 100% volunteer-based. As a result, each member is challenged in his or her own way to execute a delicate balancing act to fit GRO work into busy lives of fulltime jobs, being college students, and participating in other organizations. Yet, nobody gives up. As Board Chair, one main goal for this year is to personally recognize and reward each staff member and our volunteers because without them, GRO would not have become the inspiration that it is. Future newsletters will hopefully feature a special column in each issue focusing on one hardworking member within GRO. This way, we will gain a better understanding of how each person became inspired by GRO, their work, where they have traveled, and why they continue to stay. I believe that this will encourage, not only me, but also the other Board Directors and future delegates like YOU to join GRO and experience a delegation trip! It is especially fitting that this month marks the 3rd birthday of GRO, as this is a great time to celebrate the successes of this newly founded nonprofit organization as we look to the future for the great things that are sure to come. Cheers, Dr. Shilpa Hanumantha


Mirakle Couriers is a courier company with a difference as they employ only deaf adults. Providing efficient courier delivery services at competitive costs within Mumbai, India; Mirakle strives to combine professional excellence with social cause. They are not a charity, but a social business.

A Socially Forward Entrepreneurship Alim Chandani, GRO Executive Director Dhruv wanted to change all of that so he decided start his business by hiring and training four deaf people to start with, and he then expanded to 40 deaf employees as of July 2009. Each employee has a decent salary where they can live comfortably and support their families as well. The age group of the employees is between 23-30 years old.

On July 24, 2009, I met a person who gave me a new perspective on how to build a sustainable life for deaf people in developing countries. Since I am grateful to have had an opportunity to meet Dhruv Lakra, I want to introduce him to all of you. Hailing from India himself, Dhruv worked at Merrill Lynch as an investment banker for two years before joining a nonprofit organization to focus on tsunami relief efforts. Dhruv then went for his MBA at the Said Business School as a Skoll Scholar before he started his new social-business entrepreneurship for deaf people in Mumbai.

What most impressed me about Dhruv was how he decided to take Indian Sign Language lessons so that he would be able to communicate with his employees. The challenge present in this is that each region in India has different dialects, so there are many different signs for the same word, thus making it difficult to learn ISL. I believe that it is great how he is giving deaf individuals employment opportunities, while the deaf individuals are providing him with a better understanding of deaf culture. This is a two-way street that benefits all involved.

One thing that Dhruv stated to me is how we need to show the Indian society that these deaf individuals can be just like hearing people. India already has laws and policies to protect the rights of the disabled, but the government is corrupted and will not do anything. That is, unless we can get the support from the majority of Indian society in order to fight the government to show that we must give the disabled people their rights. I was greatly impressed by his comments as it made complete sense to me. It also made Dhruv drew inspiration from a deaf person he met that had the potential of being able to work despite his deafness, but could not me realize how I envision GRO expanding in a different direction due to how the Indian society views disabilities. Dhruv mentioned over the next few years. that being deaf is an invisible disability where everything else is In January of 2010, I once again had the opportunity to meet “normal.” After that experience, he wanted to do something for this population by giving them employment opportunities in order Dhruv and also to visit the office where his company is located. I was amazed to see Dhruv’s vision in action. I also met with Rian for them to lead a stable life. More so, Dhruv wanted to show the Indian community that these deaf individuals are able to work just Gayle who is doing an internship with Mirakle Couriers. Rian is a graduate student from Gallaudet University majoring in like us and that they deserve equal respect and treatment. To International Development. During his internship, Rian’s goal is to achieve this, Dhruv started a social entrepreneurship business similar to FEDEX consisting solely of deaf employees. The males provide a better working environment by developing training handbooks. I also met with a few of Dhruv’s employees and saw have an assigned zip code for which they are responsible to pick how the business is run. The employees work six days a week, a up and deliver packages. The females work in the office doing contrast to the five day workweeks common in the U.S. These paperwork such as accounting, filing, and packaging. individuals are working hard to take advantage of the incredible opportunities provided to them and they are proud to have Dhruv Since deaf individuals do not get an education after the 10th in their lives. Dhruv has certainly made a huge difference in their grade level, and many of them do not have any experience in the lives by giving them hope and allowing them to dream again. working world, finding employment is difficult. Furthermore, they do not know how to communicate properly with people due to Dhruv once asked me what will I do after my Ph.D. and my being continuously oppressed by hearing people. According to response was, “I want to work for you and be like you.” Hopefully Dhruv, hearing people give the Indian deaf people a feeling of in the near future, GRO and Mirakle Couriers will be able to hopelessness. Thus, the Indian deaf people do not learn good collaborate and work as partners in future endeavors. I look independent living skills. Dhruv’s prospective employees have forward to seeing Dhruv and his couriers again in the winter of often been isolated for many years, without human interaction or 2010. communication.


GRO celebrates its 3rd Birthday this month. The group pictured above participated in GRO始s first official delegation in Thailand in March 2007 right after GRO was born. Happy Birthday, GRO!



THEN & NOW Lauren Searls, 2009 Kolkata Delegate


Vikas Vinchhi Vikas is 24 years old and a graduate of the Sheila Kothavala Institute for the Deaf (SKID). He participated in the GRO India ’07 Bangalore Delegation as well as the most recent trip to Kolkata. Currently a 4th semester Bachelor of Commerce student at the SRN Adarash College, Vikas recently sat down to pen his thoughts regarding the differences he experienced between both delegations. Vikas feels that his first delegation gave him motivation to attend the Kolkata Delegation to learn more about the problems faced by deaf people and how to overcome them. Although both delegations had similar members, Vikas still enjoyed interacting with everyone and exchanging information. He strives to share his knowledge gained with colleagues back home. To this end, he feels his goals have changed after Kolkata, “Everything is possible for Deaf people to achieve and we should not give up on our goals under any circumstances and overcome hurdles and challenges that come our way.”

New Reflection on Indians The past few days that we have been in India, we have garnered stares from literally everyone on the street. Entire families, grandparents, children, wives, and husbands have followed us. They stop their dayto-day activities to come and watch us. They stare and stare and stare. When we take pictures, they approach us from behind to see the images we have captured. They stand so close to us-something that would never happen in America where there is such emphasis on personal boundaries and space. Families gawk, point and take pictures of us with their cell phones or cameras. Even at memorials and temples we become the focal point. Indians have absolutely no shame and I guess they should not, as it is not considered rude for them to stare. The cultural differences become even more obvious when we are placed under a spotlight. Being a white deaf woman is kind of a triple threat here in India. It seems that women garner more attention than men. On top of being a woman, I am fair skinned with relatively light hair, which attracts even more eyes. And being deaf and signing, it is so visual that they absolutely cannot take their eyes off of us. We learned to ignore the stares, but, at the same time, we felt even more like outsiders. At camp yesterday, the Indian people really welcomed us with open arms. Everyone was so warm, open, and inviting. I feel so connected to everyone already and it has only been day one. It is evident that among deaf people, there is a common thread that binds us all together in one way or another. And perhaps we are no longer outsiders in this foreign place.


A Response During my three weeks in India, I was surrounded by many people. If the GRO delegates were not around, then the Indian campers were, or at least other Indian people were watching and staring. When constantly surrounded by a stream of people, you feel like you have no time to yourself. Now that I have been home for a few weeks, I have had the freedom to reflect on everything I experienced while in India. When I wrote the blog titled, “New Perspective on Indians,” I was feeling a variety of different emotions. I was overwhelmed, without a doubt. In the days prior to the blog, the delegates as a whole had experienced several moments of extreme scrutiny; different people were taking pictures of us, staring, commenting,


tapping us, and it was just very stressful. One moment I will never forget was when the delegates went to the Victoria memorial in Kolkata for a photo opportunity. We were trying different arrangements for the photo, and a number of people had gathered around us to watch. When we moved to another location, the majority of those bystanders followed us and proceeded to take photos with their cameras and cell phones. As foreigners, we had been advised that when taking photos of Indian people that they might feel upset or ask for money. So when one delegate took his hat off to ask for money and to make his point, the Indians did not see the humor. Needless to mention, we did not raise much. During our time in India, we were the focus of so much attention, someone actually compared it to the paparazzi’s obsession with celebrities. While nowhere near as intense, it was exhausting to be the focus of so much energy. What I found most bothersome about the gawking was that I felt we were attracting negative attention due to our deafness. At times , people would approach us asking questions such as, “Can you speak? Were you born that way?” In America, I do not feel we would get the same kind of questions, because the concept of deafness exists in our culture. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that there is more awareness regarding disabilities like deafness. Though few in number, there are deaf people in the spotlight like Marlee Matlin and Matt Hamill. Additionally, most people, hearing or deaf are aware of deaf individuals like Helen Keller and Dummy Hoy who have had a significant impact on American history. In regards to the observations that I have made in my previous entry about the lack of personal space, in the United States, there is such a big emphasis on being an individual and being different. This creates boundaries between people, whether real or superficial. On the other hand, in India, people do not seem to place much emphasis on being an individual - instead the main concern seems to be more about fitting in with the community or collectivism. Another factor that may contribute to the differences in personal space is the fact that in India, the population of people living per capita is significantly greater than the United States. As a result, Indians are generally used to living with more people in tight quarters so their personal space is more intimate. However, many of us are used to living with more space and so we are not used to being in such close physical contact with others, especially people we don’t know. All in all, GRO India was the experience of a lifetime. I felt every sort of emotion in India; anger, confusion, comfort, and joy were all thrown in the mix. When I arrived in India, I was immediately stimulated by everything. I witnessed cultural differences firsthand, which caused me to question my own culture and myself. It was an exciting and tangible experience. Over the course of the trip, I met a lot of incredible people, individuals who provoked important conversations, asked the right questions that put a lot of things in perspective and really caused me to reevaluate my life. India reaffirmed that though our language, culture, religion, customs, and food may differ, deaf people share a similar experience no matter what country we are from.

CONGRATULATIONS, SACHA Our GRO Twitter T-Shirt Slogan Contest Winner!

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Co-founder Alison talks about her organization

Uddami was founded in 1999 with the premise that teaching practical computer skills would lead to people obtaining good jobs and therefore better lives. To this end, an American 501(c)3 nonprofit organization was established.

How Uddami Got its Start The idea for Uddami started when Bryan and I wanted to build on what residential homes provided, i.e. basic needs - food, shelter, and education. We wanted to help the kids who were growing older to move out of their homes and be able to be support themselves and their families. Teaching practical computer skills seemed a logical next step.

Uddami’s Needs

What’s next?

We are able to support 80% of the operating

Because Uddami's aim is teaching vocational

costs through our own outsourced business,

computer skills, I would like to see GRO work on

although, like most small non-profits we need

helping us teach computer skills to the deaf in

funding to continue and develop computer

order to help them get jobs. If our planned

training center programs. Carlos (co-founder) is

computer center for the deaf is in operation then

working hard to start a deaf computer center

GRO could help us increase the skills of our

and we will need funding for this. We also need

deaf teachers.

to make more jobs available so we can hire more Uddami graduates. As far as teaching, our areas of expertise are software testing, web development, and data entry.

GRO + Uddami

For me the word that kept coming to my mind during the GRO camp was "inclusive" - this is a concept that made the camp something that was really unique. The most dramatic change was manifested in one of the delegates,

GRO was a tremendous boost to Uddami

Priyanka. Within the short time she participated

because during the Deaf Sign Day Camp, many

in the camp, she changed from a shy, self-

of our deaf students of different educational

effacing person to a dynamic, expressive, and

backgrounds and abilities were able to work

very confident young woman. She came to

together in a meaningful way. This helped

Uddami a week ago and I was pleased to see

increase their self-esteem immeasurably and

that the change is still going strong.

also gave some of the group members the idea

The aim of Uddami is to empower youth from

to continue the workshops on their own with

low-income communities so they can develop

other deaf people in the community. I hope that

sustainable livelihoods. We do this by teaching

we were able to broaden GRO's focus in terms

practical, job-oriented computer skills. We also

of working with deaf people in developing

train computer teachers and help other non-

countries that are not necessarily peers, but who

profits develop computer programs like Uddami.

would greatly benefit from having role models

From the beginning we have worked with deaf

like the GRO delegates. In a country like India,

students, mainly from a local school whose

the deaf from privileged backgrounds are

students are from poor backgrounds.

already empowered far beyond the deaf from

Thanks to all of you for creating this wonderful delegation. We look forward to the next GRO experience!

For more information, visit

poor families.

Call for Volunteers Have accounting or financial experience? Want to work for a terrific organization? GRO has a place for you! Positions available! Interested in graphic design or video editing? GRO has a place for you! Internship opportunities available!

Upcoming Delegations Kenya - July 20 - August 8 • Kenyan Youth Leadership Camp (KYLC) • Applications due March 12th • Apply today!

Thailand - Yet To Be Determined • Potentially occurring in summer 2010 • We are still working out the details • Stay tuned!


Our Thanks! GRO thanks the Metro South Asian Deaf Association (MSADA) for their help with our fundraising efforts and for their generous donation in supporting our India Delegation. The Chief Editor of this newsletter is Katie Cue, our Media Information Director. Many thanks goes to Lizzie Sorkin for her excellent collaboration, Avi Haimowitz for her superb editing skills, and Dr. Shilpa Hanumantha for her patience and final proof-reading in helping with the preparation of this edition.

In the last newsletter, we asked for your New Year始s Resolutions... and you delivered! Make time to volunteer to give back to the community. Imagine all the possibilities! Dara Baril

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My 2010 Agreement: Gandhi once said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." With that in mind, I am determined to compliment at least one person per day for the entire Year of 2010. My compliments will reflect my intuitive read of the person and will always correspond with the highest vision of his or her existence. Let us work together for Unity and for Love. Ryan Matthew Barrett

FOREVER GRO’ING Global Reach Out Initiative (GRO) is designed to build a global network of Deaf youth who unite to improve the quality of life for Deaf members within their home communities. Many developing countries do not enforce human rights for their Deaf citizens; consequentially, their ability to succeed in various spheres of life is limited. GRO is more than just an outreach organization that helps others - it seeks to empower Deaf youth in a mutual way by bringing

Our Purpose. Our Mission. Our Vision. Our History. Our Story.

together American and foreign delegates. Many organizations currently exist to serve deaf communities internationally, but none exist that utilize a peer-topeer model to ensure that empowerment, rather than dependency, is the result of their collaboration. The peer delegates combine their experiences as Deaf people and their capacities in leadership to create and present workshops related to specific issues in their Deaf communities. Our goal is to encourage independence in all delegates; we expect them to establish communication networks that exist long after the delegation itself is over. We believe unity is the first step in resisting oppression. It may be idealistic, but many successful policies for social change were and are often dismissed as impossible. GRO believes that social change in the global Deaf community is possible,

GLOBAL REACH OUT INITIATIVE P.O. Box 57269 Washington, D.C. 20037-0269

and it strives to create a world in which deafness does not foster oppression; instead it creates empowerment. GRO provides a solution by establishing cross-cultural relationships that empower deaf youth in the U.S. and developing countries so that both groups feel motivated to accomplish goals that strengthen awareness and enforcement of Deaf rights. GRO's programs are designed to push young members of Deaf communities worldwide to recognize their capacities as leaders and to work to obtain educational and social resources for themselves as well as others.