There are more than 1.25 million deaf children in Pakistan, yet less than 2% have access to education. Six Deaf Reach Schools across Pakistan impart education, skill development, and train local teachers and parents, arrange job placements for deaf candidates, and work to meet the pressing need for deaf education in Pakistan.
The Pakistan based Deaf Reach Program works with the corporate sector to deliver a full circle solution for young deaf adults by providing training in marketable skills and assisting in the employment process. Their Job Placement Program has resulted in employment for over 600 young deaf adults in companies across the corporate, industrial, and service industries in Pakistan.
In 2007, Deaf Reach and KFC collaborated in a pioneer effort to open Pakistan’s first Deaf-run KFC restaurant. As of 2016, there are now 7 Deaf-run branches across the country, employing more than 125 deaf youth. In the coming year, KFC plans to grow the program by employing at least 2 deaf people in each of their other 55 branches, making for a total of over 225 deaf employees by the end of 2017.
The innovative program improves the lives of young deaf people, and creates greater awareness in communities across Pakistan. Deaf employees are fully involved in the workplace, learning highly transferable skills such as food preparation, customer service, teamwork, and career development. As an added benefit to the community, hearing team members and customers learn Pakistan Sign Language (PSL) by interacting with the deaf employees.
Deaf Reach graduates are now employed at DHL Courier, Allied Caterpillar, Alfalah Bank, Pizza Hut restaurants, the Plaza hotel, and beyond. To meet the great need for trained teachers, Deaf Reach identifies high achieving deaf students, helping them to develop the skills to pursue a career in Deaf education once they graduate. As a result, 50% of the Deaf Reach Schools’ teaching staff and management are deaf. The work of the Deaf Reach Program not only fosters development for the deaf community in the present, but also lays the groundwork for a stronger deaf community in the future.
Deaf Reach is a project of Family Education Services Foundation, which holds Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations. To learn more visit: deafreach.com