1st Crowdfunding Workshop in Sign Language

by Soon Kit

On July 27th, the NGOhub team had the unique experience and privilege of conducting our first crowdfunding workshop in sign language at Malaysia Federation of the Deaf (MFD) with 11 participants from Persatuan Orang Pekak Terengganu (POPT), staffs of MFD, and teachers of Taska Istika Jaya. The sharing session was meaningful as it taught participants from POPT that digital crowdfunding is projected to become a valuable tool for fundraising for charitable nonprofits. Attendees developed a deeper understanding of the tons of benefits acquired with less effort when online crowdfunding campaigns are conducted.

NGOs or individual fundraisers can post descriptions, and pictures of the projects to attract donations. POPT participants learned that this approach can reach a much more diverse audience than a nonprofit's traditional audience. We would like to express our heartfelt thankfulness to the sign translator, a.k.a., our trainer who was the key to the whole process of crowdfunding session. The trainer facilitated patiently the whole sharing session which allowed both parties i.e., our team and POPT participants, to ask questions and offer feedback, translate discussion and establish deeper and meaningful relationships. They learned the benefits of having an in-depth concept of how online crowdfunding campaigns, social media strategy and content production throughout the whole journey work in their favour. This session also allowed us to learn from each other.

With deepened knowledge and strategies for improving the interaction between the participants and our facilitators, we were also enlightened on the difficulties experienced by the deaf community in their everyday life. We will work towards giving more opportunities to the deaf community at our NGO Academy training programs. We believe that our potential collaboration with them can open them to a wider community of organizations, businesses, and public services. Last but not least, we would also like to express our gratitude to MFD for allowing us to establish understanding that promotes positive communication and experiences so that we can deliver the concept of online crowdfunding, marketing strategy as well as support services, to this community.

The highlight behind the cause: Learning to sign gives hearing disabled individuals the means to connect with people. For many deaf people, the challenges of building career skills are amplified. They have to rely on lip-reading up to certain point in order to have an insightful yet casual conversation. Networking, which is already uncomfortable for many ordinary people, poses additional barriers to these group of people. To support these people to overcome the added challenges, including discrimination, providing opportunities to this community is imperative, especially identifying a supportive mentor and establishing a professional network. Today, instances of discrimination and barriers persist. You may come across some peculiar comments, e.g., "People say things like 'this stuff is very complex and too difficult to translate into sign language' ". In order to bridge the gap, it is critical for the members of society recognize the degree of need of this community which allows them to form meaningful social relationships in a supportive enviroment.