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Helping Haiti's deaf earthquake survivors

By Kyra Phillips, CNN
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Gallaudet graduates travel to Haiti
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This is a transcript of Kyra Phillips' story on Haiti's deaf population.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- Sylvie MC Weir (Friends of Deaf Haiti): "I'm Sylvie Marc Charles Weir. I [We] currently have just founded an organization called Friends of Deaf Haiti."

Kyra Phillips: "The goal is simple.. yet daunting. To make sure Haiti's deaf population isn't forgotten"

Sylvie MC Weir: "We found the land and tents, water, medicine, different organizations all working together."

Kyra Phillips: "This tent city in Port-au-Prince was set up exclusively for Haiti's deaf earthquake victims. 300 people are living here. It's one of the cleaner and safer of the tent cities in Haiti.

Kyra Phillips: "Friends of Deaf Haiti is made up of Gallaudet University alumni. Together with Haitian and French officials and several international relief agencies, they're making sure that Haiti's deaf community isn't left out during the reconstruction."

Juan Carlos Reinbold (Friends of Deaf Haiti): "After the earthquake, now, we are working to focus on being successful for deaf people and have them have equal rights as hearing people."

Jimmy Marcillon (Association of Deaf Haitians): "Finding land, right now we have temporary land; we'd like to find some that is more permanent. So my dream is that in the future that that could happen. We could find good land to establish perhaps an education center."

Kyra Phillips: As Haiti continues to dig out from the rubble, activists for the disabled are taking it upon themselves to teach new skills to the deaf...like sewing workshops for women."

Kyra Phillips: "Classes are also held to build morale, like this fitness class...and painting and clay activities for children."

Kyra Phillips: "And amidst all the devastation, there are those who say comes a golden opportunity for change."

Richard Lytle (Gallaudet University): "It's a terrible time, but it's a wonderful opportunity as both the Haitian government and international groups begin planning for a new Haiti, for deaf people, for people with disabilities. So this can become a more inclusive society where the emphasis is not on DIS-ability, but emphasis becomes on A-bility."

Kyra Phillips: "Haiti is one of the poorest nations on the planet.. but taking it one day at a time. But the people are proving they're resilient...both deaf and hearing."

 
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