Deaf Visitors & Immigrants for Self Advocacy

Our Mission in Action

Connecting Communities

DHH internationals may feel isolated from American Deaf and hearing social circles. Isolation prevents individuals from having culturally enriching exchanges that strengthen communities. Deaf VISA has been devising solutions to bring diverse members of signing communities together. Through a series of popular crowd-pleasing events, attendees engage in natural social interaction to make real and lasting connections.

Game Night provides a monthly opportunity for individuals to establish vital community connections and friendships in a carefree environment.

Halloween Story Night is a fun cultural event for meeting new people, enjoying story tellers, and practicing ASL story-telling techniques.

Annual Thanksgiving Feast & Fun, our most popular event, brings 60 to 80 people together for a day of feasting and exciting activities. 

Affirming Strengths

DHH internationals face social and systemic barriers to education and opportunity both in their home countries and here in America. While many DHH internationals may disproportionately experience social, educational, and other gaps, this is not the case for all. Deaf VISA has chosen a strategy that showcases and builds upon strengths by starting wherever people are.

The Deaf International Panel is just one forum where DHH internationals can share stories of immense struggle, perseverance, and strength often in the face of extreme hardship. We are also currently developing materials that highlight the strengths of DHH internationals living or staying in America to share with the wider community.

Promoting Communication

Language barriers can lead even the most well-meaning teachers, interpreters, or peers to underestimate DHH internationals' capacity for communication. To combat this tendency, we design programs that place DHH internationals in situations where they can both teach and learn multiple modes of visual communication. 

Through The Language Exchange,  DHH internationals engage in ASL and print-English conversations with native users to reinforce 2nd language learning. In return,  DHH internationals are paired with those new to visual communication to have conversations through gesturing and drawing.

Advancing Self-Advocacy

DHH internationals must adjust to the cultures, procedures, and languages of America. If they come with partial or no access to information and resources that are widely available to others, this can be difficult. When DHH seek support, gaps in assumed knowledge or experiences can become glaringly evident. Many may doubt their capacity for independent thought or action. 

Core components of Deaf VISA were designed to counter such perceptions and to provide direct access to information that has been widely available to other populations.

We periodically host workshops and discussions on a variety of topics that expand access to widely circulated information and that establish and time management, study skills, physical and mental health, self-defense, and more.