International Deaf Partnerships (IDP) is an academic undergraduate program that fosters global awareness and solidarity with deaf communities in Latin America and Francophone Africa through student internships and service projects on behalf of Latin American and African deaf organizations.
IDP promotes deaf empowerment through education via deaf peer mentoring and solidarity across cultures.
IDP was created in 1999 with a 4-year grant from FIPSE, an agency of the US Dept of Education. Originally it focused on opportunities for meaningful foreign language acquisition. As Dr. Berdichevsky realized its potential for lasting social change, the emphasis shifted; foreign language skills became a tool in building true partnerships via internships and service projects in conjunction with and on behalf of the host deaf community. After Katrina the program director added service projects in each one of her courses.
Partner deaf communities include national and regional deaf organizations and deaf schools in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti and Mexico as well as in Cameroun, Gabon and Mali.
Dr. Cristi Berdichevsky, IDP Program Director Sylvie Marc-Charles, Assistant Director for Latin America Serge Okogo, Assistant Director for Francophone Africa
IDP is a very unique deaf friendly internship program for deaf undergraduates. IDP involves living with deaf host families, working closely with deaf on-site supervisors at local deaf organizations in areas related to the student's major or minor. Our internships provide life-changing opportunities for professional and personal growth since interns immerse themselves in the daily lives of the host deaf community without communication barriers.
Eligibility: In order to qualify students must demonstrate basic proficiency in the written language of the host country and familiarity with or willingness to learn the signed language of the host country; students must also have taken at least one course with focus on Latin America or Africa; maturity and the ability to work well in a cross-cultural environment are also evaluated when determining eligibility.
Goals: Promote global understanding, cross-cultural sensitivity, foreign language proficiency and social responsibility towards the global deaf community
Examples of internships: Students apply knowledge and skills from their major fields of study as they work closely with the partner deaf community on areas identified by the host community. A Business major applied his skills to help the Costa Rica Deaf Association prepare the budget for a conference they were hosting. A Communication/Government major applied her skills to organize focus groups to gather information about the needs of deaf people in Cameroun in conjunction with the local government.
Student Achievements: Interns learn by doing, sharing and honing their leadership skills. Hillary Roberts presented about her internship in Cameroon with the program director at American University on April 29, 2007. Summer Crider produced a documentary about her host deaf community for her MA thesis. Christy Smith established a non-profit to work with deaf people in developing countries (http://www.discoveringdeafworlds.org/); Leala Holcomb spent one year volunteering with deaf communities in Latin America in connection with Dr. Berdichevsky's International Deaf Partnerships program.
IDP sponsored service projects have taken place in every class taught by the program director, Dr. Berdichevsky since the summer of 2005. The service projects in regular classes involve students taking the lead to optimize results on behalf of the partner deaf organization. This often involves learning about a wide range of topics across disciplines to understand the issues. Most projects involve a campus-wide presentation to educate the campus about the complex issues that affect the lives of deaf people who belong to the partner organization.
Some of the projects are listed here:
Spanish 111 and 112- project on behalf of a deaf school in Nicaragua (summer of 2005);
Spanish 111 and 112- project on behalf of a deaf school in Colombia (summer of 2006);
French 112 and 212- project on behalf of ANDES- the Gabonese Deaf Association (spring of 2007);
French 111- project on behalf of a deaf school in Cameroon (spring of 2008);
GSR 221 on Africa- project on behalf of a deaf school in Mali (fall of 2009);
GSR 300 on Deaf Haiti- project on behalf of Friends of Deaf Haiti ( summer of 2010)
GSR 300 on Human Rights in Haiti- projects on behalf of deaf schools in Haiti ( spring and summer of 2011)
French 111 Online- project on behalf of 2nd summer deaf/coda camp for kids ( spring of 2012)
Our partner organizations
ANASCOR-Costa Rica Deaf Association
FEMESOR- Mexican Deaf Federation
Guadalajara Deaf Association, Mexico
Movimiento Sordos de Mendoza, Argentina
ASOCH, Chile Deaf Association
FENASCOL- Colombian Deaf Association
INSOR- National Deaf Institute, Colombia
ASORVAL, Cali Deaf Association, Colombia
Cali Deaf School, Colombia
Hellen Keller Foundation, Bogotá, Colombia
Immaculate Conception- bilingual secondary deaf school in Lima, Peru
Jorge Otto deaf school in Santiago de Chile
Institut Montfort, Haiti
St. Vincent Center for Handicapped Children, Haiti