As the world responds to the Haitian earthquakes, the Deaf Welcome Foundation (DWF), already serving the multiracial American Deaf population, is inviting relief workers, survivors and families to join their NEW Deaf Welcome Network for communication and association over the Internet, with certified multilingual interpreters, whenever it is deemed necessary.
Relief workers have arrived from dozens of countries. Communication has been a problem. The Deaf Welcome Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity, wants to provide a communication platform for Haitian survivors to reach family and friends to let them know they are safe and communicate with foreign relief workers. The DWF has partnered with translation services to provide access through multilingual certified interpreters of Haitian Creole, Haitian Sign Language, English, French, German, Spanish, American Sign Language, as well as over 150 other languages in the Deaf Welcome Network.
Donations will fund translators, laptops and solar power chargers. DWF will send technology enabled computers to Haiti with rescue workers and medical teams to use as tools to communicate back to families and professionals in the United States.
Coincidentally, the charity is hosting its ribbon-cutting of the Deaf Welcome Network for Pennsylvania dignitaries, Deaf professionals with a LIVE studio audience on Equal Access Sign Language TV this Saturday, January 23, 2010 at the newly opened Deaf Welcome Center, 206 N Sgt Stanley Hoffman Blvd, Lehighton, PA 18235 at 7:00 PM.
Unlike traditional video relay service, currently used by millions of Deaf Americans, the Deaf Welcome Network, powered by High Speed Video, allows hearing and Deaf callers to send their image and audio to the Relay Center. The caller then speaks and/or signs their message to a certified translator who connects the audio and video to the person or person(s) called. Multiple participants can see the translator and each other on a PC and or at a DWF kiosk. “This is the best use of broadcast video conferencing that I’ve ever experienced,” Michael Maresca, President of High Speed Video, commented.
“Everyone deserves equal access to relief workers and medical personnel,” stated Theressa DuBois, Founder & CEO of the Deaf Welcome Foundation. “The Deaf Welcome Network will be extremely useful in Haiti. It’s hard to imagine receiving medical treatment without the benefit of understanding the ones treating you.” The DWF is accepting donations to install Deaf Welcome Centers throughout the United States for communication, training, services, and entertainment. “The Deaf Welcome Network can assist Haiti’s 90,000 Deaf and their families too.”