International Deaf News

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Diane Vassallo is from Windsor, Ontario CANADA and was born deaf. She is a member of a roller skating team called the Border City Brawlers.

Diane’s team is in the sport called roller derby. Roller derby takes place in a larger area. The track is round, and the participants race around in a circle. They try to stop the other team from skating faster and scoring more points.

Diane learned to roller skate a long time ago. When she was young, she watched roller derby on TV. She was fascinated by it, and she decided that she would like to be involved in the sport after she grew up.

In a recent interview on, Diane said, "It’s a very serious sport and some people don’t realize that. There was a lot of learning involved. It took me two years to get to the point where I was a good, strong player."


Dragon boating is one of the fastest growing international team water sports. A dragon boat is a long boat with 20 people who use paddles to make the boat move. Each boat has a drummer to keep the beat for the paddlers and a person to steer. This sport was started in the country of China.

A famous dragon boat race is the DBS Marina Regatta. It is held in the country of Singapore. It is a big race with over 140 teams competing for money prizes.

In the 2013 DBS Marina Regatta, the Deaf Dragons finished in fourth place. They are the first all-deaf dragon boat team in the history of Singapore. The team was set up by Mr. Ryan Ng. Debra Lam is one of the 4 trainers.

Photo from

William Boular was a famous bricklayer who lived in the state of Kansas in the USA.

He was born in 1869. When he was 4 years old, he had spinal meningitis and became deaf. When he was 10 years old, he was hit by a train and lost both of his legs just below his knees. He did not like to wear artificial legs, so he wore special boots that were designed for him. 

William worked as a bricklayer, beekeeper, and hunter.  He learned to lay bricks to make roads in the city of Atchison, Kansas. He was very fast, and in 1900, he laid 46,000 bricks in one day. A famous magazine, "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" honored him in 1933.

On September 12, 2013, the city of Atchison honored Boular. They had a special ceremony and unveiled a statue of him.

Click for video from KCTV5 in Kansas City.


Charles Dittmeier is from Louisville, Kentucky in the USA. He is a Catholic priest, and 12 years ago, he moved to the country of Cambodia. When he arrived in Cambodia, the country was recovering from years of war, genocide, poverty, and corruption. There were no services or schools for the deaf Cambodian people.

Now, Maryknoll Deaf Development Program serves as Cambodia’s only program providing adult education, job-skill training, socialization, housing and sign language development to the nation’s roughly 85,000 deaf people.

"Most deaf people here have no language beyond rudimentary (simple or invented) gestures," said Dittmeier. "They have no language and have never been able to communicate with another person. They’re totally isolated."

Many students in the Deaf Development Program live in Maryknoll hostels, with medical care, clothing and other needs provided.

They get job training in areas such as barbering, cooking or motorcycle repair, and there are also daily social activities.

"The idea is to help them become self-sufficient, but a big part of what we do is just to give them the dignity and identity they lack in society," Dittmeier said.


Zhan Yi and Wu Tengli are a deaf couple from Hefei, the capital of East China's Anhui province. They have started a successful business selling hand and footprint molds.

When the couple had a baby daughter, they wanted to make her hand and footprints. They found that there were very few hand and footprint makers. They thought that opening this business would be an opportunity to make money. Later, they opened an online shop selling hand and footprints.

During the first several years of running their business, they encountered a lot of difficulties. They refused the basic living allowances for handicapped people that was offered by their community. They believed that they could make enough money with their business to live on and pay their bills.

The couple met in 1999, when they were both in a class for special needs students in Changchun, the capital of Northeast China’s Jilin province. After graduation, they went back to the city of Hefei and got married. Later, they gave birth to a daughter.

For more photos, please visit;



A one day seminar on education of people with hearing loss is being planned in Pakistan. The theme of the seminar is, " Improving the Quality of Education and Including the Excluded." The seminar is being organized by two organizations: the Pakistan Association of Inclusive Education (PAIE) and Danishkadah.

The purposes of the seminar are:

1.To bring all the stakeholders under one roof and to discuss issues related to education of students with hearing loss

2.To analyse the existing situation of access to education by people with hearing loss

3.To improve the network of related stakeholders for knowledge sharing and future development

4.To raise awareness about technologies that can help in improving the access to education

The expected outcome of the seminar is:

1.Recommendations on education of people with hearing loss

2.A small awareness raising booklet / guide for educators and parents

3.Database of stakeholders and interested parties

For more information, please contact:



A tour of Scotland

Kerstin's Deaf Travel is a travel agency in the USA. It specializes in tour packages for deaf people who like to travel. They help to arrange tours for travelers who want to visit places in the U.S. and Canada. They also help arrange tours to interesting places in Europe and Asia. This deaf-friendly business helps to raise funds for deaf schools around the world.

Some of the tours that took place in 2011 and 2012 were to Canada and New England (USA), Alaska, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Caribbean, and Hawaii.

For more information, please visit:

Shakespeare's birthplace

Changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

Meeting a deaf employee at Waterford Crystal



In February and March, 2013, the World Deaf Curling Championships were held in Berne, Switzerland. Teams came from all over the world to participate.

Curling is a sport that is played on ice. The players push a large, heavy granite rock across smooth ice. They try to push the rock onto a target. The winners get their stones closest to the middle of the target. Team members use brushes to make the ice smoother.






Hwang Kim


Hwang Jin is 33 years old and lives in Seoul, South Korea. A recent story by Kim Min-sang and Lee Yu-jeong in Korea Joongang Daily told the story of Hwang’s life and her job. She works as a barista at a Starbucks coffee shop located at the Seoul National University of Education.

She is married and has two children. Last year, she heard that Starbucks, along with the Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled, was looking to employ people with disabilities. She received training for three weeks and then started working.

She enjoys her work, and her co-workers have started to sign language. The first to learn sign language at the Starbucks branch was the store manager, Jung Cheon-won, 38. "At first, we tried to communicate by writing on a piece of paper but it was too much of a hassle, and I began to learn sign language," Jung said.

"Most places do not hire disabled people unless its a simple manual labor job, but here, I am happy to be able to mingle with other people," Hwang said.

Korea Joongang Daily web site



In the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, there are 20 deaf police officers. They are responsible for watching the monitors of the city’s 200 security cameras. Oaxaca is a city that many tourists like to visit. It is famous for its art and food. The deaf police officers watch the monitors. They watch for suspicious behavior, people who steal purses or from other people’s pockets, fights, car stealing, drug dealing, and any other violent crime. When they see something happen, they contact the police officers who are working out on the streets. The deaf officers are both men and women. Since they started working, they have helped to catch many criminals.




This story originally appeared in the New York Times. Please click here to read the entire article.





A new sign language dictionary was recently published in the country of Ecuador. This dictionary was published as part of a proposal to make Ecuadorian Sign Language an official language in Ecuador. The new dictionary is important because it shows deaf people in Ecuador that it is all right to use sign language. In the past, schools in Ecuador did not teach sign language. The deaf children were taught with a more oral approach that stressed speech and lipreading. The new dictionary makes sign language more acceptable. It will be used to teach public service providers how to communicate with deaf people.




Dr. Justus Peters is the author of a new book, "A Walk in My Moccasins: Memoirs of a Deaf Physician". In his book, Dr. Peters tells his readers about his life and how he became a doctor.

Dr. Peters says, "I pray that ‘A Walk in My Moccasins’ gives others the hope to continue on with their dreams. I’ve been blessed to experience firsthand that having a disability does not limit your chance for success in America. I want to give something back to a society that gave me the chance to succeed and achieve my dreams."

Dr. Peters earned his medical degree at the Creighton University School of Medicine in 2005. He now is a family physician and lives in Texas, USA. He is married and has 2 children.

"A Walk in My Moccasins: Memoirs of a Deaf Physician" is available for sale online at



The Shafaq Cultural Center is the home for a new puppet school for the deaf in Tehran, Iran. The school was started by the Art and Cultural Organization of Tehran Municipality.

There was a special ceremony to open the school. A special guest at the opening ceremony was Samineh Baghcheban. She is the daughter of Jabbar Baghcheban, the man who founded the first school for the deaf in Iran in 1924.

Samineh expressed her happiness about the puppet school. She talked about the school that her father started and how the puppet school is a result of the first school. She said, "When I attend such ceremonies, I find out that my father’s efforts were not useless. The sapling that my father planted many years ago in support of the deaf has now grown into a big tree with the support of family members and friends of the deaf people of the society," she added. Samineh said that deaf people are the best actors in the world because they depend on vision for all of their lives.

At the end of the ceremony, the students presented a puppet show.


Angus McDonald lives in Ngunguru, New Zealand. He is an athlete who plays the sport of squash. Angus is a World Deaf Squash Champion who is training for the next championships which will be held in October.

Angus is 49 years old. When he was 17, he was playing rugby and broke his neck. After his neck healed, he decided to look for a sport that was a non-contact sport. He chose the sport of squash.

The game of squash moves very quickly. Players must use their hearing to know where the ball is going. Angus says, "Most players can hear the ball crossing the court and know where the ball is going to go. For me I have to watch the ball the whole time," he says.

Squash is a high-speed racquet sport played by two players (or in doubles 4 players on court at a time) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball.


Photo from

Mojo Mathers is a profoundly deaf woman who lives in the country of New Zealand. In 2011, the people in her area voted for her to become a Member of Parliament (MP). She is the first deaf person to be elected to be a MP in New Zealand.

She was born in London, UK in 1966. She later moved to New Zealand and worked to protect the environment. She is a member of the Green Party. This political party focuses on issues that protect the air, water, and land.

Mojo’s name came from a song that her parents liked. The song was by Muddy Waters, and it was named, "Got My Mojo Working". Mojo has 3 children.

During her campaign in 2011, Mojo wrote about herself. She wrote, "I strive to reduce my personal impact on the environment by being vegetarian, supporting GE free food (food that is not genetically engineered), non-toxic and organic food, fair trade and local trace, using public transport, keeping myself informed, and getting involved. I have a strong work ethic and am very accessible by email."


Photo from

Mozzeria is a new Italian restaurant in San Francisco, California USA. The owners of Mozzeria are Melody and Russell Stein, a young deaf couple. Many of the restaurant’s employees are also deaf.

Melody was born in Hong Kong and moved to California when she was very young. After she graduated from high school, she attended Gallaudet University. While she was going to Gallaudet, she met Russell who grew up in New York City.

Photo from

Melody had always wanted to own a restaurant. After she finished at Gallaudet, she worked for a while with a non-profit organization. Then she decided to follow her dream of owning a restaurant. She attending a special school to learn about the restaurant business. She also traveled around Italy to learn more about Italian food. Melody and Russ learned more about cooking and then began to plan to open their restaurant.

They opened Mozzeria in late 2011. Deaf and hearing people in San Francisco come to Mozzeria and enjoy their Neopolitan-style of pizza. The Steins bake their pizzas in wood-powered ovens.



"The Hammer" is a new movie about a deaf man, Matt Hamill. Matt is famous in the sport of wrestling.

When Matt was in college, he was the National Collegiate Athletic Association National Champion for 3 years. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, USA. In 1997, Matt participated in the Deaflympics (Deaf Olympics) in the country of Denmark. He won gold medals in the greco-roman wrestling competition. He also participated in the 2001 Deaflympics in Rome, Italy and won a gold medal and a silver medal.

Matt was one of the fighters on the television program, "The Ultimate Fighter". He was part of the program for 6 years. In August, 2010, Matt retired from "The Ultimate Fighter."

"The Hammer" has won many awards in movie competitions.

Dhan and Bee Biswakarma
Full story and photo from
The Seattle Times
The country of Bhutan is located near India, China, and Nepal. It is in the famous mountain range that is named The Himalayan Mountains.

In Bhutan, there is much unrest. That means that it is not a peaceful and stable country. There is much fighting between different groups of people. Many people are taken to jail. Many people have escaped Bhutan and gone to other countries to live.

A large number of deaf people from Bhutan moved to the Seattle, Washington area in the USA. When they arrived at their new home, they did not know American Sign Language. Many had never learned any organized language. The education for deaf people in Bhutan is very poor.

Highline Community College in Seattle started classes to teach American Sign Language to the people from Bhutan. In this photo from The Seattle Times newspaper, a husband and wife from Bhutan practice ASL in class. Their names are Dhan and Bee Biswakarma.

Dhan and Bee met each other after they escaped from Bhutan. They met while they were living in a refugee camp. They came to the USA in 2008. They have a 12 year old son named Golpal.



The Association “ World of Silence” is organizing the Second International Exhibition of Deaf Artists titled, “SILENCE EMBRACED IN THE ADRIATIC WAVE” in the Old City Hall Gallery in Split, Croatia September 24 – October 1, 2011.

They invite all who are artists to participate in this exhibition in a beautiful city on the Adriatic Sea and join artists from all around the world. This is an amazing opportunity to exchange experiences and make new acquaintances. This international cultural program promotes Croatian Deaf art culture and the integration of people with disabilities through art.
The exhibition will take part under the auspices of Mr. Ivo Josipovićc, President of the Republic of Croatia. This exhibition is an important event, and we hope it will result in an even greater promotion of Croatia in Europe and the world.
For more information: .
Vanda Šagovac, president of the Assocciation „World of Silence“

Cerdas Barus is a Grandmaster chess player. He is 50 years old, and he is from Indonesia. His first international competition was in 1983. He played on the Medan City team which participated in the Asian Cities Championship in Hong Kong. After that, he was in the Chess Olympiad in Greece in 1984. He has participated in many chess competitions since then. In 2010, he won a gold medal at the Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia. In the spring of 2011, Cerdas won Telin Chess International competition in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The word, "Grandmaster" means that a chess player has won some very difficult competitions. It is an honor, and it is the highest title a chess player can attain. Once achieved, the title is held for the rest of the person’s life.

From the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute

Do you or someone you know have a hearing loss, whether minor or total? Then we would like to learn about your tourism experiences and what you as a person with hearing impairment want in the way of tourism, travel and hospitality products and services. We will use the feedback you give us to inform the tourism industry about the needs of people who are hard-of-hearing. Whatever country you live in, please help us by taking a survey that can be found at:

Your input will be gratefully appreciated and will help to improve access not only in tourism, but in other walks of life. This is the first such survey of it s kind. Your input is anonymous and your answers cannot be traced back to you.

If you know of anyone else with a hearing loss who may be interested in taking the survey, or if you are an NGO, can you please pass on the link to the survey?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Mirakle Couriers is a company in Mumbai, India. The workers take packages and letters from place to place. It began in 2009. The company has 70 deaf employees. They make about 65,000 deliveries each month.

A man named Dhruv Lakra started Mirakle Couriers. One day, he met a young deaf man on the bus. He could see that the deaf man had a difficult life. In India, there are not many job opportunities for deaf people. Most deaf people are very poor. Mr. Lakra wanted to find a way for deaf people to get jobs.

Mr. Lakra decided to start a courier business. He felt it would be a good business for deaf people because it requires a lot of visual skills. He said that deaf people are extremely good at reading maps and remembering roads and buildings.

Web site:


James Duthie was a deaf factory worker who lived in the country of Scotland. In 1951, he decided to ride a bicycle from his home 3,000 miles to the Arctic Circle. This bicycle journey took him 3 months. While he traveled, he wrote in a diary to tell about his experiences. The diary was published and was named, "I Cycled Into the Arctic Circle".

James’ nickname was "Dummy Jim", and you can now read his story on a web site:

Two men from Scotland, Olly Rundell and Alex South, are riding their bicycles and following the same route that James followed. They are using this journey to raise money for the National Deaf Children’s Society in the UK and also to make a movie about James’ diary.


This boat is called the Whisper Ball. It was built by deaf workers at the
Whisper Boat Building Academy in Cape Town, South Africa. This school trains young deaf adults to become skilled boat builders. The Whisper Ball was voted the most innovative product during the 2010 South African Boating Awards.
You can visit the school's web site here.


A company in Japan has invented a new smoke alarm for deaf people. This smoke alarm does not make noise or have flashing lights. This alarm makes a very strong smell when there is smoke. The alarm uses Japanese horseradish to make the strong smell.


Photos from

A new bronze statue of Helen Keller was recently set up in the United States Capitol building. Helen Keller was a famous deaf-blind woman from the USA. Helen was born in 1880 and died in 1968. The new statue shows Helen standing by a water well with her hand in the water. This was an important event for Helen. This was the first word she learned to spell with the American Sign Language alphabet.


Photo from the BBC web site

Janet Salt is a 52 year old deaf and blind woman from England. She recently hiked 42 miles (68 km) on the Great Wall of China. She used the hike to raise money for a charity in the UK.


Photo from:

Many deaf people have graduated from veterinary school. They now work as veterinarians taking care of animals. One deaf veterinarian is Dr. Thomas McDavitt. In this picture, Dr. McDavitt is checking a dog’s heartbeat. He is not using a stethoscope like a hearing veterinarian uses. He puts his cheek on the dog’s side to feel the heart beat.



Denver is a specially trained hearing dog. She was recently to Bonnie by the UK charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Denver helps Bonnie with by alerting her to the telephone, doorbell, and smoke alarm. Denver and Bonnie have met some famous people. One special person they met was Princess Anne.

To read the full story

Lee Tur Chung is 35 years old. Recently, he graduated from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) with a degree in Special Education.

To read the full story

The Helen Keller World Conference will be held from October 22 - 27 in Uganda. This conference meets every five years. The people who meet at this conference discuss issues about deaf and blind people around the world.

To read the full story