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The Ishara was founded by Deaf Connections Asian Deaf Club.
The word 'Ishara' is a word from the Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi lauguages. It means to make signs or gesture with hands. We choice this name for our project as it helps to promote the ethic identity.
The Ishara provides support to Deaf BME people in the West of Scotland in the following ways:
Information and advice on accessing employment, health services, housing, benefits, etc.
Communication guidance for BME families and community agencies. For example, deaf awareness training and BSL Taster classes in a culturally sensitive manner.
Information, advice and arranging sessions for Deaf BME people to find out more about their own cultures and beliefs.
Ishara staff has both female and male staff to suit any gender specific requests. The Project also has the following languages available; British Sign Language, English, Urdu, Punjab as well as gesturing for DEAF BME service users where BSL is not their first language. The project also works with interpreters to engage in other languages.
The project has provides a confidential service and members understand and respect different beliefs and cultures.
Ishara is currently funded by the Scottish Government Equality Unit for 3 years. This will allow the project to contribute to the Race, Religion and Refugee work in Scotland. There will be 3 key areas of work:
Capacity Building for organisations who support BME and Deaf communities
Community Engagement with Deaf BME People
Capacity Building - Ishara will help build the capacity of organisations that carry out work in terms of Race Equality/BME Communities Support Work; Faith and Belief work and Refugee work. We aim to build this capacity through networking, partnership working and deaf awareness training. We also aim to build the capacity of organisations working for the Deaf community in Scotland through information sessions on Race Relations, Faith and Belief and Refugee Communities and their issues.
Community Engagement - The Community Engagement will be supported through the Asian Deaf Club. The Asian Deaf Club meets every Saturday between 1.30pm to 4.30pm at Deaf Connections by arranging trips, social activities and information sessions. We also celebrate cultural events from different BME cultures. We will aim to work with service providers, for example, health, housing, local council and police to engage with Deaf BME People on how they can improve their services.
Resource Development - We will also work with key partners to produce resources from key learning from the capacity building programme. For example, a DVD with BSL and subtitles promoting good Race Relations in the Deaf Community. We will also develop resources to deal with specialist issues in the Deaf BME community, for example, Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence in the Deaf BME Community.