DC film showing marks PH observance of disability week
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A free screening of the documentary, “Signs of Change: Deaf Filipinos’ Campaign for Equality” was held at the Romulo Hall of the Philippine Embassy in the evening of July 20.
More than 80 guests, the majority of whom came from the deaf and hearing communities in the Metro DC area, attended the screening.
“Signs of Change,” made by Manila-based documentary filmmaker Mirana Medina, that tells the story of 10 members of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) and their journey of personal and organizational growth through a capacity-building program of the DDW and funded by the USAID/Philippines from 2013 to 2016.
The event was hosted by the Philippine Embassy and Discovering Deaf Worlds, Inc. (DDW) as part of the Philippines’ observance of the 39th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week.
“We have vowed to be advocates, to be part of the solution, and to be part in making sure that our fellow Filipinos who are persons with disabilities (PWDs) are integrated into the mainstream society and included in our social development,” said Vice Consul Darell Artates.
Prior to the screening, Mencie Hairston, founder of High Bridge Foundation, Inc. and renowned community advocate, gave a background of the documentary film by providing a brief history of the Filipino deaf community and updates on their progress.
“In 2012, Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW) and the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) established a partnership with the intention of strengthening PFD through organizational development,” explained Hairston.
A panel discussion followed, led by advocates from the deaf community, including DDW President Shane Feldman, first deaf Peace Corps Volunteer serving the Philippines Pauline Spanbauer and deaf community advocate Shilpa Hanumantha. Hairston moderated the discussion.
Panelists highlighted the positive impact of the program in the Philippines, particularly in empowering and inspiring the Filipino deaf communities to build on and expand what DDW started.
The brief Q&A touched on the livelihood programs and trainings for the deaf community, how DDW embeds local cultures in program development, resources allocated by the Philippine government to similar advocacies, and potential contributions of the U.S. government agencies to connecting deaf communities all over the world to the American deaf community, and the next steps for DDW.
DDW provided two professional sign language interpreters for the panel discussion.