World Deaf Leadership
Name: Rian Gayle
Field of Study: International Development
I am Rian Gayle, a 2005 World Deaf Leadership (WDL) scholarship recipient from Kingston, Jamaica, who completed the scholarship in May 2010 with an M.A. in International development. Thanks to the opportunities to develop my skills and gain more education and life experiences that the WDL scholarship afforded, I was able to return to Jamaica and get right to work. I was involved in the Deaf Drivers for Equality campaign, successfully lobbying for Deaf Jamaicans to be permitted to obtain drivers licenses. I am passionate about the Deaf community in which I grew up, and felt a deep urge to contribute in any way I can. I did that by presenting about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to several deaf leaders in Jamaica. I was also a motivational speaker at a number of schools.
I also played an instrumental role in establishing the new Deaf Sports Jamaica organization, which aims to use sporting activities to develop the deaf community for the better. I also established my own organization, Miss Deaf Jamaica, to use a beauty pageant to attract young deaf ladies, then put them through a one-month course to educate them about job-hunting, self-development, and how to be advocates, leaders, and ambassadors. I successfully launched Miss Deaf Jamaica organization with a well-executed beauty pageant on December 18, 2010 with eight contestants.
Through Miss Deaf Jamaica, I have been able to employ some of the strategies from the project that I designed through WDL, which was to tackle unemployment within the deaf community.
My current job position is Research Officer within the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, which is a non-governmental organization in Jamaica that serves Deaf Jamaicans. A few of my responsibilities are:
- Collecting and researching information to set up a new "Deaf Library" at the head office that can be used to implement future projects.
- Collecting data to build the contents of a new Deaf Study Curriculum to be used in Deaf schools across Jamaica. This project is being sponsored by the Organization of American States.
- Leading the design of a CRPD DVD in sign language that would help deaf viewers become more aware of deaf rights. This is a project sponsored by the Australian Agency for International Development.
- Helping with other projects where research is needed, and the writing proposals.