Discovering Deaf Worlds travels to Philippines


In partnership with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf, representatives from Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the self-determination of signing deaf communities through local capacity building in developing countries, are in the Philippines to support disability rights until December 4.

A team of 11 American DDW representatives will conduct a cross-cultural capacity-building exchange as part of a US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs cooperative EMPOWER grant. The grant supports two-way professional exchanges designed to bolster disability rights.

DDW will visit organizations and officials in the Philippines, including, but not limited to, Congressman Antonio Tinio, National Council on Disability Affairs, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, and Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria.

“My colleagues and I are collecting data, meeting with activists, and visiting leading institutions to gain a better understanding of disability rights issues. We are working toward improving education, employment opportunities and human-rights circumstances for deaf people in the Philippines,” said Davin Searls, DDW executive director. “Our intent and efforts are to advance an understanding of deaf education, advocacy, policy, organizational development, community outreach, and human rights.”

DDW’s diverse team of leaders comes from various sectors of the US signing deaf community.

In the past six years, DDW staff members have volunteered more than 30,000 hours to connect with more than 250 deaf schools and organizations from 50 countries, creating one of the largest international deaf-advocacy networks in the world. DDW’s work is now focused on capacity building partnerships with deaf leadership teams in the US, Philippines and Costa Rica, which are working to improve education, employment opportunities, and human-rights circumstances for deaf people in those countries.

For more information, contact DDW International Programs Director David Justice (US based) at or 585-690-6737, or DOS/DDW Program Accessibility Coordinator Natividad Natividad (Philippines based) at +63 929 805 1817, or or visit


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