Haiti Relief Efforts

About us

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.

Our Mission

IDP promotes deaf empowerment through education via deaf peer mentoring and solidarity across cultures.

IDP History

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.

IDP Outreach

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.


Here is an article about IDP and the legacy of DPN - http://pr.gallaudet.edu/otg/BackIssues.asp?ID=8511;

IDP interns (Yazmin Marin, Elizabeth Steyer and Serge Okogo) presented with Dr. Barbara White at her Distinguished Faculty presentation - http://www.gallaudet.edu/daily_digest/distinguished_faculty_presentation.html

Here is another article on Gallaudet's website that also appeared in Cameroon Today about Dr. Berdichevsky's fall 2010 course on behalf of our partner deaf school in Buea: http://www.gallaudet.edu/News/Students_convene_conference.html

Here is an article about a spring 2010 class project on behalf of Helen Keller Foundation, our partner deaf school in a poor neighborhood in Bogotá, Colombia: http://news.gallaudet.edu/News/Putting_out_a_helping_hand.html and this video shows the impact of the project on the lives of deaf children at that particular school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Byr9Z6PpPc.

Here is an article from Haiti about the 2 week-summer 2011 camp for deaf, deaf blind, and physically disabled children that IDP helped sponsor: http://lenouvelliste.com/lenouvelliste/article/95846/le-modele-parfait.html (Click here for the PDF version).

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

Service Project

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
  • ASORGUA- Guatemala Deaf Association
  • ASEDES, Guatemalan Deaf Youth
  • BSD-Buea School for the Deaf, Cameroun
  • CDEO- Cameroun Deaf Empowerment Organization
  • Bamako Deaf School, Mali
  • ANDES, Gabon Deaf Association

Kids playing jumping rope

Kids playing around in the playground

Smiling kids posing for the picture

Posing for the picture - indoor

Learning outside with a chalkboard

Posing with Interns/Teachers

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