In Poland there are at least 40,000 deaf people who use Polish sign Language to communicate (Equality principle Law and Practice no. 13, Commissioner for Human Rights). A vast majority are represented by people with normal hearing or hearing impaired. During a large number of conferences concerning disability or accessibility, people who use Polish sign language are not visible. Deaf people are rarely policymakers in community organizations, and even in the Polish Board of Sign Language they are in the minority. Policymakers with normal hearing do not use or have poor knowledge of Polish sign language, resulting in a tendency for deaf people to be left out of tasks about which opinions have to be expressed. The project addresses the problem of deaf people not being sufficiently represented in groups dealing with matters that concern them.
We will set up a network of deaf self-advocates (who use Polish sign language) – leaders of the community from all over Poland. We will create a Deaf Persons Council. Deaf people will conduct by themselves accessibility audits in the various fields they encounter daily, identify legal barriers, and recommend solutions. They will test 10 currently existing deaf people solutions designated for deaf people. Self-advocates will also issue opinions on the measures currently being taken by various institutions for deaf people and declare needs, issue opinions on legislative proposals, and take part in public consultations.
15 deaf people will take part in the self-advocacy measures.
A report will be produced on monitoring, giving the findings of a review of legislation in Poland and of an audit in various spheres of community life. The creation of the network of deaf activists will mean that deaf people play a greater role in public consultations at local and equally at nationwide level (minimum of 10 opinions).