CALYPSO Project Signed for Deaf & Hard of Hearing People

A transformational deaf-hearing arts project called ‘Calypso’ is expected to benefit an estimated six hundred and eighty-five (685) deaf and hard of hearing people in Barbados. The **Calypso **project is supported by The Maria Holder Memorial Trust and many generous individuals and organisations in Barbados as a joint funding initiative. It is a collaboration between the Barbados Council for the Disabled and the UK charity Decibels and its partner Audiovisability along with other organisations in the UK and Barbados, namely Specialkidz International and the Peter & Jan Boos Family Foundation.

Calypso will bring together deaf and hearing musicians, artists, film makers, and writers from across the UK, USA and Barbados to help raise awareness in Barbados to deaf people’s needs. It encompasses 3 broad areas, with 5 components:

  1. Culture and the Arts – Creation of Calypso Music and Arts
    Production of music and music video
    Visual Arts and photography exhibition
  2. Community and workshop involvement – learning and engagement
    Community workshops and business opportunities
    Professional development classes (CPD), d) Educational resources
  3. Education, Skills & Business: raising expectations in deaf learners, understanding employability, including Continuing Professional Development, Social Media presence, PR, raising awareness and news story.

During the Signing Ceremony, Jane Armstrong, Consultant/Advisor to The Maria Holder Memorial Trust expressed her pleasure: “We are delighted to be supporting this project to shine a spotlight on the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community. The collaborative approach is a win-win for everyone. Imagine bringing together deaf and hearing musicians and artists, building partnerships with Barbados Community College, emerging artists and local businesses all being part of the activity to build links, networking and potential workforce opportunities for deaf people! This will be an important national statement of inclusion and social justice.   In keeping with our focus on young people, the Calypso project also has tremendous youth appeal with the involvement of young participants in music, storytelling, writing, and professionals showing the fusion and merging of the two languages of Calypso and Rap.

Ms. Kerryann Ifill, President of the Barbados Council for the Disabled in signing the donation letter indicated: ”This is a most welcome initiative. The Council has attempted to address this void over the years with muted support and success. We are therefore excited by the dynamism envisaged in this project as well as the multiple partners to foster a multisectoral approach. This will be music to the ears of our deaf and hard of hearing community (literally and figuratively!). To all the partners and especially The Maria Holder Memorial Trust for their continuing support of the Council, we say thank you for working with us an invaluable service to a number of beneficiaries in our Council’s membership”.

The Calypso Project will also seek to improve the data that is available on deaf people living in Barbados thereby improving educational resources and workforce opportunities for deaf people on the island, and increasing their meaningful contributions to society. The project will also further develop Cultural Social Policy for deaf Barbadians, improving accessibility, recreational opportunities, equality and infrastructure on the island, especially through the advent of technology.

About The Maria Holder Memorial Trust

The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, registered Charity No. 766 under the Charities Act of Barbados, is a Charity creating longevity. Founded by Christopher Holder and Chesterfield Brewster in memory of Christopher’s Mother, Maria Holder. Maria had made Barbados her home since 1978 until her sudden and untimely death in February 2004. It is the wish of Christopher and Chesterfield to ensure that her vision is fulfilled through this Charity bearing her name.

The Trust works with Government and registered NGO’s and Charities in Barbados and some other Caribbean Countries (Antigua, BVI, Grenada and St Vincent) to implement projects that have a direct impact on the lives of vulnerable people. The Trust works in the areas of Education, Health, Poverty Alleviation, Culture and Disaster Relief and its target groups are children, youth, the elderly and those in vulnerable or difficulty circumstances. The Trust is always happy to consider innovative projects or new approaches to helping those most in need.

About The Barbados Council for the Disabled

The Barbados Council for the Disabled has a mandate to partner with all sectors of the community and International Agencies to effect change and champion the rights of all persons with disabilities, ensuring their full and effective integration into society.

In its 44 years of existence, The Council has seen a number of successes. The major success has been the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the Government of Barbados.

The ratification of this U.N. Convention means the Council is now armed with the necessary tools to pilot the required changes to the laws that would include services to persons with disabilities in Barbados.

About Audiovisability

“The name ‘Audiovisability’ is derived from three separate words: ‘audio’ (sound/music), ‘vision’, and ‘ability’.  Generally, society perceives Deaf people as having an ‘audio disability’; however, Audiovisability highlights that Deaf people are able to listen to, appreciate, and interpret music, particularly through its inherently visual nature.

Audiovisability offers professional, mainstream platforms for often unseen, unheard deaf musicians and artists.  By offering unique opportunities for collaboration and a high quality, accessible platform, Audiovisability dispels the myth that deafness and music do not go together. Audiovisability believes in creating a voice of our world which creates a shift change, as we showcase our ways of seeing and perceiving of the world – as a result we improve on audience engagement, innovation, rights and accessibility.  Visual arts often go hand in hand with music, here in Audiovisability opening up skills-set, appeal, pushing new boundaries and storytelling which is directly related to our deaf-lives.

Audiovisability has enjoyed successful projects since its conception in 2016 – The Elements of Music with visual artists,The Unheard World with Arabic musicians, , and Dressage with horse and riders ).  All three projects have adopted a multidisciplinary approach, collaborating with professionals from across the arts and beyond.

About Decibels

Decibels was founded as a charitable company limited by guarantee in April 2005 with the aim of promoting the education and training of children and young people with a variety of special needs and disabilities for the purpose of enabling them to learn, appreciate and enjoy sound, music, the arts and drama through the use of technology. It seeks to advance this work by providing facilities, equipment, research and a spirit of innovation and incorporating technological developments with a view to including young people in the community and the musical and artistic worlds.

Some of its projects have been: KidzAloud, Sign along with Music, Colour Music, Circle of Sound, Seeing Music, Hands on Shakespeare, The Week of Sound, Dressage, Art & Music Workshops, Challenges of creating music through Audiological Technology, Makey Makey & Playing Music together.

Decibels Mission Statement: “Empowering people with disabilities to access music, sound, arts, film and performance through the use of ICT”

Decibels U.K. Registered Charity (No:1109004) & Company Limited by Guarantee (No:5301729)

About Peter & Jan Boos Family Foundation

Peter and Jan Boos Family Foundation supports youth development, entrepreneurship, education, addiction treatment, environmental protection, arts & culture development, relief of poverty and support of various community and charitable causes that focus on Integral Human Development.

About SpecialKidz

Specialkidz  promotes the education of children and young people with a variety of disabilities and/or difficulties for the purpose of enabling them to learn, appreciate and enjoy the skill of communication through the use of technology. It creates and establishes a spirit of innovation by incorporating technological developments into various aspects of accessibility and inclusive practice for those whom we want to educate and train. It advances the above  by providing facilities, equipment and research with the view to building and maintaining the social networks of children and young people. It is now developing its International arm through the Calypso project

SpecialKidz is a UK Company Limited by Guarantee & Registered Company Number 07923265