National Association of the Deaf organised the 4th National Workshop on the Grassroots Deaf Leadership from 5th to 8th January 2013 at Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. Over 85 participants including deaf students participated in this workshop which was led by Mr. Kevin J. Nolan, (Gallaudet University’s Gerald “Bummy” Burstein Institute, Washington DC, USA).
Mr. Nolan showed a testimonial video of his brother who is deaf and how much he had to struggle to get into the Military and his journey which inspired our participants that nothing is impossible. This workshop opened eyes of our participants in exploring the issues that limit the participation of deaf persons in society and day to day life and how we can combat, fight these issues by dividing the participants into groups. N.A.D. is an advocacy organisation, and took suggestions from the participants which will be helping in their work. Mr. Kevin organised a one on one question-answer round where N.A.D. was supposed to answer questions asked by the participants, any questions regarding their functioning, administration, fund raising, etc. This session led to trust building between the organisation and its members. Throughout the workshop, we had several group works where brainstorming took place on how an advocacy organisation works, what qualities take to be a leader, a loyal follower and how we can create visibility for the deaf community which will lead to the Government allot resources accordingly.
Dr. Madan Vasishta, Chief Advisor of Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (I.S.L.R.T.C.) took a session on Emotional Intelligence explaining how one is supposed to react calmly during intense situations. We even had Smt. Pooja Parvati, Research Coordinator of Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability who provided a basic session on how the Government budget works, how the disability budget is decided and so on. Budget is a new concept which was introduced to the disability community couple of years ago and it is still a new concept for the deaf community. Another session on Right to Information Act 2005 was led by Shri Javed Abidi, Convenor of Disability Rights Group. This session enlightened the participants that they could seek their rightful information from various government agencies and this is a great tool for advocacy organisations to have concrete data and records for their work.
This workshop took a more practical approach with a lot of brainstorming which had left a positive impact on our participants and we hope that next one would be the same kind and better!