Deaf-Led Disaster Action: September 24, 2021

Deaf-led organizations play a vital role in disaster and humanitarian contexts, but are often overlooked in disaster research, training, management, and reporting. 

This webinar spotlights Deaf-led organizations in Japan, Trinidad & Tobago, and Viet Nam to raise awareness about disaster impacts in those countries and the strategies used to advance disaster action. These actions begin with Deaf communities and also provide information and resources that benefit the wider society.

Event Recording

A full recording of the webinar including open captions in English and a transcript are now available!

Link to event transcript for Deaf-Led Disaster Action

Event Details

Friday, September 24, 2021


Japanese Sign Language, American Sign Language, Hồ Chí Minh Sign Language, International Sign, and English with live-captioning (CART) will be provided.

Register: Link to register for the Deaf-Led Disaster Action Event

Event announcement graphic with 4 Deaf presenters collaged into one image. All text repeated in body text.

Details in Hồ Chí Minh Sign Language (with captions)

Instructions for registration in Hồ Chí Minh Sign Language:

Details in Japanese Sign Language (with captions)

Details in American Sign Language (with captions)

Details in International Sign

Event details and presenter biographies in Japanese

Event details and presenter biographies in Vietnamese

Naoki Kurano, Executive Director and General Manager of Head Office, Japanese Federation of the Deaf; General Secretary, Central Headquarters for Disaster Relief for Deaf People

Naoki Kurano, a Japanese man wearing a dark blue suit and red striped tie, stands infront of a white wall and is looking at the camera.

Naoki Kurano became Deaf at the age of six months after having diphtheria. Kurano serves as the General Secretary of The Central Headquarters for Disaster Relief for Deaf People (CHDRDP) and Executive Director and General Manager of the Head Office of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD).

CHDRDP was established for sustained support to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as for the response to other regional natural disasters, and promotion of disaster reduction. CHDRDP was founded upon the predecessor organization, Central Headquarters for Disaster Relief for Deaf People in the Great East Japan Earthquake (CHDRDP-GEJE) and co-organized by three deaf-related organizations: JFD, National Research Association for Sign Language Interpretation (Zentsuken), and Japanese Association of Sign Language Interpreters (JASLI). CHDRDP-GEJE was launched by JFD in 2011, in response to the mega earthquake in eastern Japan, and operated support activities.

Bryan Rodrigues, President, Deaf Empowerment Advocacy Foundation (DEAF)

Bryan Rodrigues, a Trinbagonian man with light skin and curly black hair, wearing a navy suit.

Bryan Rodrigues was the first Deaf President of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of the Hearing Impaired, a founding member and former President of the Deaf Empowerment and Advancement Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (DEAF) and the Deaf Basketball Association. He has been involved in six local organisations for the Deaf. 

Rodrigues attended Deaf primary and mainstream secondary schools in Trinidad. He then attended college for two years in New York. He is passionate about improving interpreting services and access to better education for the Deaf.  

On his return, he studied computer repairs, A+ Certification and later on digital film-making. He has expertise in videography and digital video editing. As a facilitator for the Caribbean Telecommunications Union, he has presented on ICT4PWDs with a focus on the Deaf, in five Caribbean islands. He was the first Deaf Trinbagonian to teach Deaf Language and Culture at UWI, St. Augustine Campus. 

Rodrigues was awarded the Community Hero Award by the Ministry of Community Development in 2013. He was one of two Deaf representatives who attended the 2nd World Federation of the Deaf’s Conference in Sydney, Australia in 2013. He comes from a fully Deaf family, has been married for the past 13 years and is the father of three boys.

Ian Dhanoolal, Vice President of Deaf Empowerment and Advancement Foundation (DEAF) and Sign Language Instructor at University of the West Indies, St Augustine campus in Trinidad, West Indies

Ian Dhanoolal was born Deaf in 1974. After attending Cascade School for the Deaf and South East Port of Spain Secondary School, he spent a year at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in the US, before returning home to Trinidad and Tobago.

He is a researcher, educator, activist, interpreter, translator, and small business person. He has carried out groundbreaking research on Caribbean sign languages and Deaf communities, including projects in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St Vincent, Guyana, the Cayman Islands, Honduras, and Colombia.

He has taught Trinidad and Tobago Sign Language and American Sign Language for over 15 years, and has worked as a tutor at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus since 2015, where he teaches sign language and Deaf culture. He was the first Deaf Interpreter to work live on National Television, and continues to interpret the National Budget and Budget Debate, as well as contributing to the interpreting to the national news on TV6.

He was one of the founders, and current acting president of the Deaf Empowerment and Advancement Foundation, and one of the first Deaf board members of the Trinidad and Tobago Association for the Hearing Impaired.

In 2019, he won the LCCF Edward Miner Gallaudet Award, presented to a Deaf or hearing leader from any place in the world who is working to promote the well-being of Deaf people worldwide. Ian was the first Caribbean winner of this award. He also presented his work on Caribbean sign language documentation and language rights to the World Federation of the Deaf’s International Congress in June 2019.

Nguyen Tran Thuy Tien, Director of Psycho-Education and Applied Research Center for the Deaf (PARD)

Vietnamese woman with short black hair and dark eyeglasses, wearing light blue sweater and dark-shirt collar. She is signing 'three", standing in front of a PowerPoint projection to her right and a green-board to her left. Green-board contains a list of names written in Vietnamese.

In 2013, Tien became the first Vietnamese Deaf person awarded the World Deaf Leaders Scholarship to pursue her Master in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University. After her graduation in 2016, Tien returned to her home country and worked on the development of the deaf community.

In 2019, she founded the first and only Deaf-led NGO in Vietnam named Psycho-Education and Applied Research Center for the Deaf (PARD). PARD is working for an inclusive and barrier-free society for the Deaf community where Deaf people have full access to sign language and equal participation in other social activities. PARD focuses on empowering and building capacity for Deaf people, promoting advocacy, and raising awareness about the Deaf community. The spirit that Tien and everyone at PARD always follows is “Nothing About Deaf Without Deaf”.


GADRA is a collaboration between disability-led organizations, foundations, corporations, and other allies to identify local disability-led organizations and their disaster-impacted communities, then link partners to accelerate assistance and resources, both during and after disasters.

Link to GADRA main page

Link to the Deaf-Led Disaster Resilience event series page

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