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In 2013, CBM participated in 113 livelihood projects, helping 123,742 people around the world.
Read more facts and figures here

International Week of the Deaf 2013



[Screen text]

"States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.

Article 10 - The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

[Screen text]

Ahmed Dahman - Server at Atfaluna Restaurant

[Ahmed, with shots of him working in restaurant]

"We, as deaf, are unified in our concerns, interests, disability, and language. I urge the deaf people to develop their abilities through vocational training and be able to claim their rights from governments and decision-makers.
Do not give up, do not relinquish your rights, use all legal ways such as demonstrations and work hard towards equity.
Show to everyone that you're able to prove yourselves in the society and be on equal footing with hearing people."

[Screen text, and scenes of sewing and other craft workshops]

Through its tireless pursuit of equality for deaf and hard of hearing people in the Gaza Strip, Atfaluna Society for Deaf People (ASDC) has made great efforts to ensure equal opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people through education, vocational training and employment, in addition to other services which prove that the deaf can equally contribute to the economic and social development processes.

[Belal, with scenes of him in his workshop and products he has made]

"My name is Belal Ghazal. I am deaf and I work as a carpenter. I had several tries at getting a job, yet the employers did not accept to hire me because I am deaf until I gained the opportunity to work at ASDC. What is even more frustrating is that I am not the only person who has experienced this; many of my best friends are unemployed because of their disability."

[Classroom, where the teacher is communicating with her pupils in sign language]

[Screen text]

Samaher Abu Sedo joined ASDC 22 years ago as a student at Atfaluna Kindergarten and now she is one of the best deaf mathematics teachers at Atfaluna School.


"I worked hard to get a job opportunity. Do the same and defend your rights already mentioned in the international law which says that deaf persons are entitled to exercise their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights on an equal basis with others."

[Screen text]

"Deaf people can do anything, except hear."

Dr. I. King Jordan, former president of Gallaudet University, USA

In 2013, International Week of the Deaf is celebrated from 23 to 28 September. During this week, associations of the deaf throughout the world organise events, marches, campaigns and meetings to highlight topics that they wish to be addressed by local or national authorities.

Equality for Deaf People

This year, the global theme is 'Equality for Deaf People'. The short video above, from CBM partner organisation Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, highlights the importance of educational opportunities, having deaf role models in the classroom and access to signed bilingualism as part of equality. The video immediately below, from our partner Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR), highlights the challenges faced when there are no appropriate support systems in place.
Mo'taz - the challenge of inclusion
A video from CBM partner organisation Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation (BASR) highlighting the challenges faced by deaf people in accessing education when there are no appropriate support systems in place

Impact of deafness and the work of CBM and partners

Regardless of degree, cause or onset of hearing loss, deafness impacts on a person’s communication and language skills. Access to relevant education, employment and information is more limited in poor communities, and many causes of deafness are misunderstood, or wrongly interpreted. All of this results in fewer situations of equal opportunity, and less chance of 'success'.

Nonetheless, much is being achieved in the provision of services for deaf people, leading to deaf people promoting civil empowerment, qualifying from higher education and attaining professional appointments, gaining success in livelihood and being role models.

Within CBM and our partners, this is being achieved through the dedication of individuals, partnership, collaboration with deaf people and supporting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in our work.

The stories and videos shown here are an inspiration from across the CBM family and partner organisations to continue to achieve more.

More stories and info

A story of inclusion - Kenya

Rose Kwamboka ©Rose Kwamboka
Rose Kwamboka
In 2013 CBM East Africa Regional Office employed an assistant inclusive development officer in the Capacity Development department, Rose Kwamboka. Rose (who is deaf) noticed that it was a challenge for CBM staff to communicate with her in sign language, so the Regional Office arranged Sign Language classes as a way of ensuring accessibility and inclusion in the workplace.

A small NGO, Deaf Ability Initiative (DAI) Kenya was contracted to conduct the training over six months and began classes in March 2013. Training takes place twice a week for an hour per session with 25 out of 40 staff from the Regional Office attending, The DAI instructors, who are deaf themselves, provide information about deaf culture and basic sign language.

The classes are very exciting and the staff love them. There has been a noticeable improvement in communication with Rose, and each of the staff attending the classes has acquired good basic skills in sign language, can 'fluently' spell their names using Sign Alphabet, and also communicate well with deaf visitors to the regional office as well as CBM partners who are hearing impaired.

The road to equality in deaf education - Kenya

Four young men in graduation gowns ©George Otieno Osawa
George (second from left) graduating in July 2013
An analysis from personal experience - George Otieno Osawa, Deaf Teacher, BA. Special Needs Education

Having the opportunity to access Higher Education is an important avenue towards equal opportunities in a competitive world.  It is recognised by development professionals and social scientists that social change supporting diverse groups in a rights based society providing equal opportunities for all is brought about by the actions of the groups themselves. In order to achieve this, strengthening their leadership, empowering the grassroots membership and giving equal status to these social groups and movements is needed. Education is part of this liberation.

I am proud to share my experience as a deaf student attending Kenyatta University, Kenya, from 2008 to 2012. My experience there was enjoyable and challenging. The dedication of staff has contributed to the achievements of many students over the years.

Students are hard-working and enthusiastic in all they do. The University provides supportive and co-operative lecturers. Deaf students are supported well. This approach has put Kenyatta University on the international map as a leading institution of learning.

When I went to Kenyatta University, I had two choices; to work hard or not. Following the path of hard work would earn me sponsors and achievement! An opportunity to access equality in employment, in life. I worked hard to safeguard my achievement.

Kenyatta University is an inclusive university that takes care of many students with disabilities at both undergraduate and post graduate levels. It is essential that we strive to make all of us fully accepted and respected as human beings as we enjoy the privileges that come with being bona fide university students.

Further progress will only come if approaches and policies are enacted, examined and debated with the target groups - such as Deaf people - at the centre of debates, monitoring systems and implementation. Policies developed without full collaboration with the target group is never effective. Placing deaf / hard of hearing teachers back in deaf education can only enhance the language and communication skills of deaf / hard of hearing learners. There are challenges, but there are also opportunities.

The Deaf people have come up with solutions, in advocacy, independent living, income generation and self-help. All these solutions are based on the principles of integration, opportunity equity and the implementation of our human rights. I know from my own experiences that it is through these two avenues that Deaf people can become participating, contributing members of our own societies.

I was born into humble family, but my dream is to be a leading Deaf scholar. For my part, I have decided to progress to master and even Doctor of Philosophy given the opportunity and support.

Deaf Link Uganda celebrating Deaf Awareness Week 2013

Nassozi addressing participants at IDAW 2013
Deaf Link Uganda (DLU) is a deaf-led non profit NGO founded in 2007 by Nassozi Kiyaga. Based in Kampala, DLU operates outreach programmes in Eastern and Western Uganda that serve deaf and hard of hearing people living in remote rural areas

In 2013, DLU participated in this year's International Deaf Awareness Week in Soroti District. Report below:

Spearheaded by the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD), deaf communities in Uganda began celebrating IDAW in 2006. UNAD has since organised the annual event at different locations, bringing together organisations of the deaf, a diversity of individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or disabled to participate in this eventful week. IDAW serves to recognise deaf people's potentials as valuable and equal members of society, and is synonymous with Deaf Identity. Most importantly, it provides opportunities that enable the deaf to share experiences and interact as members of a larger Deaf Community, celebrating thier uniqueness as a cultural and linguistic minority.

DLU made its debut at IDAW 2011 in Ibanda (Western Uganda) and was represented by six volunteer staff. At this year's event held in Soroti town 400km East of Kampala, we doubled our number to thirteen including our invited guest, 21 year old Caroline Kabaganda, a 2nd year student at Jinja School of Nursing & Midwifery, who became deaf in 2006.

A variety of activities highlighted deaf people's contributions at all levels of society, thier achievements as well as acknowledgement of current realities and challenges experienced on a daily basis. As a community, we were engaged in several voluntary activities such as, cleaning hospitals and market places, tree planting and interactive lectures. David Ogute, Human Rights Commission, gave a lecture on Human Rights with emphasis on deaf people's legal entitlements and implications of the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities. Although significant changes continue to be made as a result of increasing awareness about disabilities, he acknowledged persistent challenges faced in implementing laws that protect rights of disabled persons, despite the government's ratification of the Convention. Sam Lutaalo-Kiingi, Kyambogo University, a deaf professor and linguist gave a presentation on Human Rights and Ugandan Sign Language (USL), reiterating the need for research in USL.

During a highly competitive but friendly football match was played between UNAD and ETOP (Soroti's local football team) our hosts scored 4 - 3 winning the special trophy! DLU staff Nancy Muwangala led a special team of trained health personnel to provide deaf individuals with voluntary counselling and testing for HIV & Aids. Our Micro-credit coordinator, Allan Odeke DLU's representative to the IDAW 2013 National Organising Committee was exceptional in his dynamism in mobilising deaf youths to donate blood at the health kiosk and distributing health literature on malaria, TB and HIV. Several items were up for sale at the exhibition stalls which also featured Esther Aguti one of DLU's micro-credit loan recipients who sold her knit wear products.

IDAW 2013 was a memorable event that culminated in celebration organised by UNAD in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. The event's grand finale was a procession flagged off at the Soroti district local government headquarters as we marched through the streets to our destination: Soroti Boma Grounds.  The closing ceremony, chaired by UNAD's chairperson Alex Ndeezi (Uganda's first deaf parliamentarian) and The National Union of Persons with Disabilities in Uganda (NUDIPU) - umbrella organisation for Disabled People's Organisations in Uganda, witnessed large numbers of jubilant participants and ended on a high note with entertainment from deaf and disabled artists and a free sumptuous luncheon!
The theme: Equality for Deaf People in Uganda gave impetus to our mission of working to advance the welfare of the deaf. Each one of us felt renewed in our commitment to service!

Equality for Deaf People at CBM Australia

A man seated, communicating in sign language ©Auslan
CBM Australia has two deaf employees. Philip Waters is a Program Officer monitoring projects in China, Indonesia and the Philippines. He maintains close relationships with CBM staff and partners in those countries. Philip works with CBM partners to monitor progress and relevance of their work, strengthen reporting and development practice.

Elena Down is a Senior Technical Advisor who advises partners how to ensure development programs are inclusive of people with disability.

“Equality for deaf people includes equality of employment opportunities. Deaf people continue to face many barriers in employment” says Elena. “However CBM Australia does a great job of understanding our access needs, providing sign language interpreters, note-takers, captioned phones and webcams. They are proactive in ensuring that we are growing professionally and building leadership skills.”

Philip regularly travels overseas for project monitoring. “I take an interpreter with me and this has the added benefit of building people’s understanding of how to work with Deaf people. Meeting other Deaf people on my travels is a highlight for me to share experiences and learn about challenges” he said.

Elena and Philip contribute to a global CBM working group on deaf issues. “Equality for deaf people is a human right, but globally deaf people are often left behind in development progress in terms of access to education, health, employment and social inclusion,” Elena noted. “We want to work in partnership with others to change that situation” added Philip.
©End the Cycle
Ben Sophal is from Cambodia He's 20 years old, is deaf and only started learning Sign Language when he was 12.  He's now training to be a motor mechanic. Watch Ben tell us about his experiences of exclusion and the difference that education and training has made for him.

More reading

Música Ocular - a film about inclusion

A group of young deaf people from CBM partner project 'Piña Palmera Community Organization' acted in the movie 'Música Ocular'


A professional with hearing disabilities

Angela Maria, from Colombia, is currently doing a 'post-degree' in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics - her story until now has been one of positive attitude, strong family support well integrated rehabilitation


Dream comes true

Danee,who lost her hearing at the age of 12, will soon become a teacher


Byron colours silence

Byron, who was diagnosed with hearing impairment when he was a child, is the winner of the Contest 'Colombia has talent'


Launch of digital dictionary coincides with new programme

CBM and its partners launch digital dictionary and new programme for deaf and hard of hearing people in Burkina Faso


Inspiration and equality

Equality for Deaf People

Social inclusion and job placement for hearing-impaired ex-students of CBM partner organisation Escuela Cristiana para Sordos


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