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Capacity-building training course in India – congratulations to our 20 international participants

29 January, 2015

We want to thank and congratulate all of the participants in our capacity-building training programme which we co-hosted last month in Lucknow, India, with Dr. Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation University (DSMNRU). The training took place from 8-20 December 2014 at DSMNRU and aimed to strengthen deaf communities by developing the leadership and project management skills of 20 participants from India, Burundi, Indonesia, Jordan, and Nepal.

The training was delivered by three members of the iSLanDS team: Nick Palfreyman, Sibaji Panda, and Tashi Bradford. The 12-day course focussed on four key areas: personal skills, human rights campaigning, sign language linguistics, and organisational development.

Trainers and international participants celebrate at the end of the course

Trainers and international participants celebrate at the end of the course

All of those who took part in the training are deaf and fluent in at least one sign language, as well as being involved in, or planning for, a role in deaf development as a teacher, leader or co-ordinator. The trainers, who are all deaf, used International Sign and Indian Sign Language to facilitate the training. They exploited interactive and participative approaches such as role-play, mapping, visual diagrams and Forum Theatre.

iSLanDS director Ulrike Zeshan said that one of the highlights was the use of Forum Theatre. She commented: “This session was brilliant, and acted out with great humour. One of the participants from Burundi took the part of a hearing Indian police officer, and drew attention to some of the barriers that deaf people face. Forum Theatre is a great technique where a group of people act out a situation – at the pivotal point, they stop, and members of the audience can step in and take over roles to explore how a situation can be handled.”

Participants were introduced to tools that can be applied to a range of situations in order to plan, implement and evaluate different courses of action, and practised applying these to their own experiences and case studies. At the end of the course, participants used these analytical tools to create project proposals addressing a situation faced by the deaf community in their region.

Trainees participating in the 'Image Theatre' session, exploring poses that represent leadership

Trainees participating in the ‘Image Theatre’ session, exploring poses that represent leadership

Coordinator Nick Palfreyman explained: “One activity involved discussion over which order to present key information linked to funding applications. In another activity, participants used Image Theatre, creating poses and postures to represent the concept of ‘leadership’. Everyone who took part in the training was highly motivated and really engaged. Even though participants had different language backgrounds, they were able to communicate and share ideas and experiences with each other – it was impressive.”

Research fellow Nick Palfreyman delivers a session on the project cycle

Research fellow Nick Palfreyman delivers a session on the project cycle

Among the presenters were two distinguished guests from the Indian deaf community, who were both in Gallaudet University‘s leadership programme: A.S. Narayanan, the secretary of India’s National Association of the Deaf, who talked about equality and education; and T.K.M. Sandeep, CEO of the Deaf Enabled Foundation, whose theme was self-motivation. Further presentations were given by Kang-Suk Byun (a PhD student at MPI in Nijmegen) on the South Korea deaf community, and Paul Scott (an MA student at iSLanDS) on the Jordanian deaf community. Other presentations included ‘Building partnerships with deaf children’ by Bilal Chinoy and Arathy Manoharan from Young Achievers.

The training concluded with an evaluation session, and the iSLanDS team are now analysing the comments from this to explore the benefits and future potential of training in an international environment.

We would like to thank the Vice Chancellor of DSMNRU, Dr. Nishith Rai, as well as DSMNRU staff, for their support and encouragement. Our special gratitude also goes to presenters A.S. Narayanan, T.K.M. Sandeep, Bilal Chinoy and Arathy Manoharan, for their excellent insights into leadership.

For further details about this training programme or future capacity building courses, please contact Nick Palfreyman (

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