MNI Presents on International Deaf Development
Dr. Amy Wilson, the Director of Mill Neck International (MNI)—an organization that collaborates with partners worldwide to mobilize the capabilities, skills and resources for the Deaf community—met with Mill Neck staff regarding international development with Deaf communities overseas and to enlighten them on the need for this important work.
Through Dr. Wilson’s presentation, it became evident that MNI’s main goal is to advocate for the Deaf community worldwide, helping them achieve their human rights to access effective communication and education for living and sustaining independent, productive and meaningful lives. Unfortunately, in many countries, this is not the case. The Deaf community is often excluded from education and job training, basic healthcare, political and legal processes and are the lowest priority for any limited resources (food, clean water, land, etc.). Because of that, Deaf individuals are underutilized and many live in poverty.
MNI wants to change this endless cycle by improving the quality of life for Deaf people through focusing at the community level and empowering them, giving them a real voice in decisions that affect their lives. Too often, organizations provide money and products to Deaf individuals, without giving them the resources and skills to enhance their lives on their own. And once the organization leaves, the Deaf community is no better off than when they started.
“MNI doesn’t work for the people, we work with the people. We want to instill transformative change—their attitudes, their behaviors, their relationships—and in these Deaf communities, you’ve got smart people, but they just don’t have the skills. They just need help to understand what they don’t know,” says Dr. Wilson. “MNI isn’t giving out money for materials, we want to share skill sets. We want to go into the grass roots of the community, find out what they want, what they need and then teach them the skills to make it happen.”
When Deaf people feel that they have some control over their lives, their attitude toward themselves, their family, their community and their future becomes more hopeful and change becomes an attainable goal.