DEWA, previously known as Asian Deaf Women’s Association was created in 1992. The Asian Deaf Women’s Association was established with the support of the London Borough of Newham in response to an identified lack of provision for Deaf women in the borough who used Asian sign languages and also a lack of linguistically and culturally appropriate support for these women, who were often vulnerable and socially excluded.
The charity’s work meant that, often for the first time, Asian Deaf women were able to participate in cultural celebrations which were usually inaccessible because of a lack of sign language provision in these areas which had meant that a large number of Deaf women were feeling alienated from their cultural and religious communities. The events also provided social opportunities and drew visitors from across the UK. This has provided a model of best practice that has been adopted by other charitable and cultural groups.
In November 2008 it was felt that the name of the group no longer reflected the backgrounds of all of the community we were representing, where changing migration patterns meant that the demographic of the women
coming to us had changed and we are the only independent Deaf women’s charity in the UK and are therefore are uniquely positioned to reach an otherwise socially-excluded group.