eDEAF celebrates a decade of changing lives
12 July 2017
June 2017 marks a decade of success for eDEAF, a proudly Deaf led organisation that off ers training courses and learnership programs to empower Deaf communities for business.
Established in 2007 by Nazereen Captieux-Bhana (a profoundly Deaf community role model) and Jesse Kotze (a hearing member of one of South Africa’s largest Deaf families), eDEAF made South African history by pioneering formal training, conducted by Deaf facilitators to Deaf students in their first language, South African Sign Language.
Through their partnered solutions approach, eDEAF strives to provide the open labour market with trained and skilled Deaf people who are ready to become part of the mainstream economy.
Over the past ten years eDEAF has assisted close to 3000 students in gaining formal training and finding employment with over 120 different businesses in various fields.
“The Deaf community is one of the most marginalized groups in South Africa due to the fact that they cannot communicate freely with the hearing world. As such they are often regarded as incompetent or not intelligent, and not fi t to be employed. This is far from the truth!” explains eDEAF CEO, Nazereen Captieux-Bhana.
Many local companies have taken the brave step of employing Deaf persons with great success, proving that in some career fields the Deaf can be just as good as, or even better than hearing employees.
eDEAF has grown to a staff compliment of over 50 (the majority of whom are Deaf), and operates from four training hubs, in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal.
“Our growth and success is due to our holistic services approach in providing continuous support to companies who have employed Deaf people,” says eDEAF COO, Jesse Kotze.
Another groundbreaking milestone that eDEAF have been instrumental in, is the development of an easily accessible South African Sign Language smart phone application that was launched in April this year. “The goal of this app is to bridge the communication gap between Deaf and the hearing by allowing people to simply search for a word or specific phrase on any mobile device that has the free app installed,” says Nazereen.
eDEAF aims to continue to unleash the social and economic empowerment of the Deaf community and add value to the economy for many more years to come.
“As we proudly refl ect on a decade of empowerment and changing lives, we will continue to look at the world through the Deaf community’s eyes and endeavor to show businesses that Deaf people can do anything, except hear” conclude Nazereen and Jesse.