Deaf ppl

 

ABOUT DEAF FEDERATION OF SOUTH AFRICA (DeafSA)

The Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA) acts as the national research, information and community action organisation on behalf of ± 600 000 South Africans that are culturally and linguistically Deaf.

DeafSA, formerly known as the South African National Council for the Deaf (SANCD), was founded in 1929. And in 1995 the former SANCD was transformed to a new democratically elected organisation, namely, Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA). This resulted in a paradigm shift from an organisation for the Deaf to one of the Deaf. The changes in the constitution and attitudes also meant that decisions about the services and affairs of Deaf people were no longer taken by hearing people on behalf of Deaf people – but by the Deaf people. At present 98% of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of DeafSA are Deaf.

DeafSA is of the intent to conduct its affairs in accordance with the official vision of the organisation and to adhere to the official Mission Statement, which clearly stipulates that DeafSA is to promote the interests of the Deaf and hard of hearing effectively on national level in South Africa. DeafSA’s national constitution and activities are, therefore, aimed at all people who are affected by hearing loss and speech impairment.

DeafSA is also the coordinating, umbrella organisation that facilities services to the South African Deaf, Deafened and hard of hearing communities, and currently has nine (9) Deaf Provincial Federations (DPFs) throughout South Africa.

DeafSA accepts the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) ratified by Government on the 30 November 2007 and came into full force in May 2008. DeafSA’s objectives are based on the principles based in UNCRPD and will base its activities to give an effect to UNCRPD.

 

As with any organisation whose profile has been raised over the years, the demands on the Deaf Federation of South Africa increase each year. To meet those demands with the level of excellence the public has come to expect, and to face other challenges the future will inevitably bring, requires funding.

To date, most funding to the Deaf Federation of South Africa has been from a small recurrent subsidy from the National government. Private donations to the Association and special events aimed at fundraising comprise the remainder of the Association’s income. The tireless efforts of the Association’s many volunteers have contributed greatly to our development and to enhancing the public perception of the valuable contribution the Deaf community has made in our society.

Community involvement and readiness to achieve set goals are highly valued by the Deaf Federation of South Africa. They are values which have been nurtured and developed through our contact with the community. As a peak body that represents Deaf people who use sign language and due to the fact that the Board and staff members are Deaf, the Deaf Federation of South Africa has arrived at a competent level of understanding regarding the issues that ultimately affect Deaf people. The Deaf Federation of South Africa is readily able to respond to these issues in an effective and orderly manner.

Through the years, seventy nine in all, the Deaf Federation of South Africa has maintained a steady growth in membership, adapted fluidly to changing times and demonstrated a commitment to self-reliance, especially when it comes to funding its activities. Our commitment to improvement has created a strong and reliable community service with an outstanding record of achievement in community education and community service. In particular some of the major achievements by The Deaf Federation of South Africa have been:

 

• Government recognizing SASL as a community language in South Africa.

The Deaf community encompasses people who use South African Sign language (SASL) and is largely composed of people who have been deaf from an early age. People who refer to themselves as “Deaf people” belong to a group of people who are linked by a sense of community, and a shared culture of which is strongly unified by the use of sign language.

The vision of the Deaf Federation of South Africa extends to provide more comprehensive service for the needs and interests of the Deaf community through the provision of advocacy, education and working with young Deaf people, as well as representation in all levels and facets of government and working with young Deaf people.

• This vision includes a more comprehensive advocacy service.

The Deaf community has traditionally been left behind in the provision of advocacy services. Apart from the National Advocacy Service administered by the Deaf Federation of South Africa, and a service run by the Victorian Branch of the Association, no specialised advocacy service exist for Deaf people. Deaf people do not receive support or have access to services to the level of their hearing peers. The Deaf Federation of South Africa’s vision encompasses the establishment of advocacy service provision in collaboration with all our state branches.

• The vision includes more education.

With support from the community and the corporate sector the vision of The Deaf Federation of South Africa is two fold. The provision of education to the Deaf community and the provision of equal access to education for all Deaf students. Education is an essential and basic right of all people.

• The vision includes more representation to governments.

Representation is a vital element to ensure that the needs of the Deaf community are put forth to various government officials so that they can effectively respond to these needs.

• The vision includes empowering Deaf youth.

Today the pressure on our young members of society is ever more intense. Developing the next generation has always been one of the primary goals of the Deaf Federation of South Africa. This is achieved through community involvement as volunteers, where as valuable and equal participants we help build self-esteem and instil confidence in our young people.