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Developing deaf role models in Bangladesh

Published Date: 04 Sep 2019
Photo: Three people talking with sign language

There are an estimated 3 million living with deafness in Bangladesh. With little resources available deafness is a disability that is often disregarded and many living with deafness are routinely denied their rights.

We have been working with our partner, the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) to train staff members with technical knowledge and expertise to make the environment more inclusive for deaf young people and children.

We do this in a number of ways and one of them is to work with staff members who are deaf to empower them and help change perceptions within the work environment. These staff members play a hugely important role as catalysts for change by informing and educating their hearing colleagues and peers on deafness. They also play a vital role in moulding the project activities, evaluating and monitoring so that we know the projects are working to benefit deaf communities. These technical officers are quick to become ‘deaf role models’ within the organisations.

Sarna Shah, Technical Officer, is one of four deaf staff members employed at CDD and she commented: “There is much work to do to improve not only general awareness on deafness throughout the country, but the overall aim is to improve the opportunities for young deaf children and ensure they understand their rights to education, work and other opportunities.

“Growing up and being deaf wasn’t easy and I had to fight to get opportunities. Even when I started in my new role, I was very nervous and thought I wouldn’t be heard, but once I started my training to become a lead trainer on deafness, my confidence grew. I now know that I have good knowledge on conducting and delivering training, technical expertise and strong facilitation skills to pass on to colleagues in my organisation and elsewhere. This is invaluable for my career.”

At Deaf Child Worldwide we believe in empowering deaf people with knowledge and skills to make long-term systemic changes in-country. Deaf Child Worldwide uses its heritage of 17 years working in low and middle income countries to offer training modules and other educational resources to help organisations like CDD develop their own technical leaders on deafness.