About us

Our motto: A deaf person can do anything except from hearing
We are an NGO – an association. Registered in the National Registry Court – 0000051170. We operate continuously since 1946.
Our main goal, that hasn’t change for decades, is to unite the Deaf and hard of hearing and to support them in any way they need. We try to keep up with the changing reality and to adapt the available forms of assistance to it.
We have some 850 members that pay a membership fee, which is 60 PLN per year. Except from the membership fee our members do not bear any additional costs of being a part of PZG, unless it is a paid trip or any other paid event. According to our statute, as a NGO we also help to the Deaf and hard of hearing that are not our members.
In the ‘Activity’ section you can read of what we do.
Where do we get the money from? We are an association which means that we do not get any fixed money from the government or other public institutions. We take part in competitions announced by public and non-public institutions and that is how we get the money for our actions.
We try to concentrate mostly on the social and professional activation of the Deaf, so that they could function on their own and do not depend on hearing people.
We are one of the 16 regional PZG branches. We all have the same statute and one Main Board in Warsaw.

Our Headquarters

Our Headquarters is situated in the very centre of the city in a building that was purchased by the Polish Association of the Deaf in 1998. The building area is 600 m². On the ground floor there are two big rooms and kitchen facilities that are used by Therapy Workshops. All the offices and working space for specialists like translators, interpreters, lawyer, psychologist, work advisor, job coach are situated on the first floor.
We also have 8 field centres in Łódź region. They gather deaf and hard of hearing from smaller cities and villages. We also try to help them by assisting while looking for occupation or by providing translation from or to sign language. All the field centres are situated in spaces lent by schools or local governments since we do not have funds for our own offices yet there are deaf people outside the city of Łodź that need our help but have difficulties with traveling to our headquarters and need support on the spot.

Our team (Board and staff)

The Board consists of 9 members, 7 of whom are deaf. The Chairman of the Board Mr. Stanisław Mizerski, who holds his post since 1975  is also deaf person.

We hire 30 people and cooperate with many others while taking part in different projects.  Office Director of PZG Łódź department is Ms Agnieszka Kwiecień-Stępień, who is a hearing person.

We also hire sign language interpreters. (There is no institution in Poland that would organize sign language interpreters and that would specialize in sign language translations and that is why a lot of every day translations are provided by PZG employees.

News / Events

In May 2016 we begin  „4 Steps” project, that will last for 2 following years. Its goal is to provide professional activation for 160 deaf people – graduates of schools for the Deaf in Poland. More about the project: www.pzg.lodz.pl/4kroki

This year we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of our department. The celebration is going to take place in September along with the International Day of the Deaf and Sing Languages.

History

Social movement of the Deaf was launched in Poland in the period of 1876-1918. The very first association called Galician Association of the Deaf “HOPE” was founded on July 7th 1876 in Lviv. In 1883 in Warsaw the Christian Association of the Deaf “Providence” was established and its goal was to organize social and cultural life of its members, helping the elderly, sick and unemployed and also to provide financial support if needed.
Until regaining the independence in 1918 there were 7 associations that gathered the Deaf living on the polish territory. In 1909 the Christian Mutual Aid Association for the Deaf “Mutuality” was founded in Łódź. It was directed by the deaf activist Władysław Kranas who was also a co-founder of the school for the deaf children in Łódź.


Władysław Kranas

After the World War II 8 organizations resumed or began their operations, including the Association in Łódź. On December 1946, on the initiative of the pre-war members of the association, the local branch of the Polish Association of the Deaf and Their Friends was established. The name changed into the Polish Association of the Deaf. There were also different headquarters over the years until 1998 when the building situated on 94/96 Nawrot street was purchased from the founds of the Polish Association of the Deaf. 

We are the oldest organization that works on rehabilitation care, social assistance, cultural life animation of the Deaf in Łódź voivodship.

Our activites

Social support in field centres – in every centre there is person that helps the deaf members of our association in dealing with the everyday issues like doctor’s appointments, finding a job, settling things at the office. Very often it takes the form of mutual self-help in a small community of the Deaf in a little town. Office in Łódź raises fund for the field centres activities.

Videotranslator – In 2012 the Act of Sign Language and Other Ways of Communicating was introduced. Since then the public institutions are obliged to provide a sign language interpreter in every office. In could take a form of a video service and this is what offer to those institutions. We have more than 100 customers all over the country. Thanks to the internet we can provide the translating service remotely via video phone or computer program.

Our publications – every year we publish books on the topics of deaf children education, history of the deaf movement in Poland, polish sing language teaching, professional activation of the Deaf, guides for the parents of deaf children etc. Most of this publications are for free, issued due to funding.

FADO – in 2013 we created the Social Cooperative FADO. It is a social company that employs deaf people and one hearing person. FADO works on the availability of the public space for people with disabilities. We try to control the current situation and influence the institutions so that the availability and its awareness were getting bigger.

We very often cooperate with schools for the deaf children all over the country, local branches of the association, local governments and state administration. Our employees consult legal acts that regulate issues significant for people with disabilities. They are also members of advisory boards at ministries e.g. education for the Deaf team at the Ministry of Education or regional Committee of Civil Dialogue on Implementing EU Convention on the Right of People with Disabilities.

The most important projects 2014-1015

4 Steps – since 2009 there were 3 editions of this project. The main goal of the project was to work out and implement the best way of professional activation of the Deaf in Poland. The 4 steps are: counselling, training, internship, employment. Ale the editions helped to find employment for couple of hundreds of deaf people.

Investments for everyone? This project included checking 100 investments funded by the EU in terms of their accessibility for people with disabilities.

Into the bilingual education for deaf children. This project lasted for nearly 2 years and ended in April 2016. Its goal was to prepare a ‘road map’ of implementing a bilingual education for deaf children in Poland. We held dozens of consults with parents, teachers, deaf people, specialists, officials and prepared a report and recommendations for 4 ministries on what should be done to introduce the bilingual education for deaf children in Poland. This project was funded by S. Batory Foundation from the EEA funds.

Deaf Code – Scratch programing courses for deaf children from all over the country. The whole course is also available in sign language on line http://pzg.lodz.pl/deafcode/ The project ended with a Programming Tournament in Łódź and was co-financed by Ministry of Administration and Digitalization.

Careful! Culture! – project that was realized in Łódź with the cooperation of 10 cultural institutions: museums, foundations, galleries etc. Its goal was to complete their cultural offer with the sign language translation (which is not at all a norm in Poland but rather a rare exception). This project was co-financed by a Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

International Projects

Spread the sign – this project was implemented in 2010-2015 in a partnership with European Sign Language Centre, Örebro, Sweden and 11 other partners. If you do not know this project yet you have to learn about it. Enter www.spreadthesign.com and meet the world’s sign languages.

Deaf learning – project implemented in 2015-2018 by Łódź department of PZG on the basis of Erasmus+ grant with the cooperation with Universitat Klagenfurt, Doncaster Deaf Trust and Venice University. It involves creating curricula of teaching the national language as a foreign language to deaf, adult students (levels A1-B1).

Spread share – project implemented by European Sign Language Centre on the basis of Erasmus + grand, with a cooperation with different institutions all over Europe, including Łódź department of the Polish Association of the Deaf. Spread share is a continuation of Spread the sign project. We not only record signs to the Spread the sign dictionary (each partner records 1000 geographical signs that will be placed on google maps) but also build a new component of spreadthesign.com Spread share – a platform to exchange educational programs and teaching materials for teachers from schools for the deaf children in the partner countries.

Contact

Polish Deaf Association Lodz Department

City: Lodz
street and number: Nawrot str. 94/96
Zip code: 90-040 Lodz

www.pzg.lodz.pl

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Skype (video chat) pzgdlaum

Activation of the Deaf – model’s main assumptions

Polish Association of the Deaf – Łódź division works on helping the Deaf to find an occupation and coming back to the labour market. The organization has a lot of experience in activating the Deaf gained while taking part in local (“4 Steps 3.0”, “Active Deaf over 40”) and nationwide projects (“4 Steps, support of the Deaf on the labour market II”). The result of the experience gained in the field is a comprehensive working model aimed at finding and maintaining the employment by the Deaf.

The model assumes the multi-stage operations for at least a few areas and a cooperation with various specialists and operators.
All the planned and suggested actions that a deaf person is supposed to follow are individually designed according to personal preferences, diagnosed predispositions and the situation on the local market.
Information on the actions taken by the organization are easily available in sign language on our web site.

It is very important that all the people working with a deaf customer have knowledge and experience in in the field of working in the deaf environment. Knowing the sign language at the level that allows a direct communication with a deaf person would be an ideal situation.
Watching for harmful stereotypes, being sensitive, treating the Deaf objectively and as partners on the basis of respect and cooperation are the core values defining the relationship between the employees of the PZG/OŁ and the customers that we want to activate.

Carefully selected team ensures high standards of support and makes sure that the rule of empowerment is implemented while working with the Deaf. To ensure that our team is well chosen we use a standardized recruitment procedures e.g. scenario interviews for job counsellors and professional trainers.

Our team consists of:

  • Broker that looks for job offers and lobbies for employment of the Deaf
  • Job counsellor who prepares the professional diagnosis, determines career path, creates the Individual Action Plan, explores potential and areas to strengthen. 
  • Professional trainer, who works directly with both a deaf person and employers, schools, training companies, labour office, job agencies etc. A trainer works with a deaf person through the whole employment process. That is why it very important that the person on the post has a high interpersonal skills and knows how to cooperate with the client by the rules set and accepted on both sides. 
  • Mentor – a deaf person that supports a deaf client (model role)
  • Sign language interpreter that has to present at any time when a communication between hearing and deaf person occurs.

The team cooperates so that the aims of the Individual Action Plan were reached. To minimize the risk of a burnout syndrome and stress once every few months, depending on the need the team holds a supervisory meeting where all the problems and possible solutions are discussed.

Depending on the situation of the client the organization cooperates with various specialists. Since being unemployed is usually an effect of a complexed situation and has more than just one reason it is important to notice the reasons and react as quickly as possible.

Those specialists are:

  • Psychologist
  • Solicitor
  • Social worker

With a help from those specialists that work on finding solutions to various personal, legal, family, interpersonal or living problems the deaf client can focus on active job search or on increasing his/hers qualifications.

At this level the job broker and the trainer works also with:

  • Employers
  • Working market institutions like job agencies, Labour Office etc.
  • Personal trainers, training companies
  • Schools for the Deaf

Both the trainer and the broker must have the knowledge of the local labour market, legal aspects of employment of deaf employees, safety issues and occupational medicine.
They also need to know how to encourage employers to employ deaf people and the professional trainer must take care that the working environment is friendly and comfortable for the deaf employee (solutions that make communication easier, safety issues, savoir vivre training for the co-workers of the deaf person etc.). Our model assumes cooperation not only with the employer but also with doctors, occupational medicine specialists and safety specialists since in practice they are the people who decide whether a deaf person may or may not work on a given post.

Our model also assumes raising qualifications and retraining deaf people since their qualifications are very often too low and do not reflect the abilities and interests of the client and do not correspond to the needs of the local employers.

We organize:

  • External trainings ( training companies)
    It is important that he trainings were prepared for a given client and that they take into account both predispositions of a deaf client and the expectations of the employer. The perfect solution are trainings that take place in the working environment. It is important to avoid mass trainings where most of the participants are hearing people – our experience show that the training of a deaf person is highly ineffective in such circumstances. 
  • Vocational trainings in vocational schools for the Deaf (when an employer reports a ‘demand’ on a given skill the trainer and the school prepare and implement a training plan for the student, with the use of school’s resources e.g. equipped studios or teachers).
  • Internships and apprenticeships (at least 3 months for each action)

We also organize group workshops “Life Skills”. They are very important to the whole process of strengthening the personal and professional potential of a deaf person.

When a deaf person gets employed we offer 3 month support for the client and for the employer (depending on reported needs e.g. consult with the trainer or with the mentor).

Partnerzy / Współpraca

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