As an organisation, JCI Cambridge prides itself on providing opportunities for growth to its members, whilst at the same time, making a positive impact within the community.
Last year, Naily Makangu, JCI President 2017, watched the “Beauty and the Beast” play at the Junction. It was a small production, a bit cheesy at times, but thoroughly enjoyable and cleverly put together. In fact, Naily and her friend, now co-producer of the JCI Cambridge Sherlock Holmes Pantomime, Helen Williams, were possibly the only unaccompanied adults. As they put it in their own words “We looked at the flyer and thought, that should be fun, let’s give it a go”. For Naily, this was the first time that she witnessed a British Sign Language Interpreted play. In fact, it was the first time that she encountered a Sign Language Interpreter at an event at all.
Back to the drawing board, JCI Cambridge reflected on what we could do to make a difference:
1. Make our seminars and workshops more accessible
In a town like Cambridge, which is rich with talks and seminars in a variety of subjects, offering young adults the opportunity to network or further their knowledge in various areas, how many of those events are accessible to non-hearing people?
JCI Cambridge would like to take on this challenge. Every month, we host seminars on a wide range of soft and technical skills such as understanding investment, speaking with confidence, emotional intelligence, building confidence, social media and marketing, becoming a better leader and many more workshops aimed at giving listeners the ability to take control of their career and personal development. What would be required to make some seminars accessible to those who are deaf? This year, JCI Cambridge is working with local charity organisations to be able to become more accessible. We are investigating various options such as having a British Sign Language Interpreter at our seminars, recording talks to be signed and/or subtitled later, live speech to text technology to provide subtitles during the session and more.
2. Deaf Awareness Week
There are about 9 million of people in the UK who are deaf. This can vary from a partial to a full loss of hearing. Some people can lip read, others rely on subtitles. Most Deaf people who use sign language use British Sign Language, or BSL. It’s a rich combination of hand gestures, facial expressions and body language. In fact, BSL isn’t simply English with hand signs, it is a different language with its own grammar and sentence construction.
This year, JCI Cambridge is hosting a few events to join the Deaf Council UK during the national Deaf Awareness Week, running from the 15 May 2017 to the 21 May 2017:
- Social media campaigns throughout the week
- Interactive Awareness Quiz on Thursday the 18 May 2017 – This is more than your typical Pub Quiz. Expect a few twists and turns throughout the evening.
- Sign Language/Awareness Course on Saturday the 20 May 2017 – Learn the basics of BSL in a relaxed atmosphere.
3. Sherlock Holmes Pantomime
JCI Cambridge is putting together a pantomime, based on Sherlock Holmes, in October 2017. Some of those shows will be BSL Interpreted.
4. Sponsored hike
Helen Williams and Naily Makangu will take on Scafell Pike on the 27 May 2017 to raise money for local charities such as Cambridgeshire Deaf Association.
What we would like to achieve through our Deaf Awareness Programme?
- Provide more opportunities for personal development and networking to those who are hearing impaired.
- Raise awareness within the community during our Deaf Awareness Week.
- Raise funds to be able to support our ambitious project of becoming more accessible.
- Raise money for local charities such as Cambridgeshire Deaf Association.
- Empower and challenge our members through exciting and ambitious projects. It is only through experience and getting out of your comfort zone that true growth and progress can be achieved.
How can you get involved?
For a small non-profit organisation, many of the goals we set ourselves this year are challenging. However, we are committed to our programme and strongly believe in making a difference. Here are a few ways you could get involved:
- Would your company or organisation be willing to sponsor us? This could be part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). There are many benefits from being our sponsor which include free advertising and promotion throughout the year, a space in the programme for the pantomime or other printed materials and more. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Tune in during the awareness week and interact with us on social media.
- Make a donation to our sponsored hike.
- Join us at the Awareness Quiz, Sherlock Holmes Pantomime and other networking events.
- Do you know any British Sign Language Interpreter who would like to work with us, then please let us know.
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Naily Makangu