Hunter Deafblind Peer Group launch films to raise awareness
At August Catch Up Crew, Hunter Deafblind Peers launched two of their own locally-made films to raise awareness about deafblindness and celebrate the growth of their peer group. The films were launched to an audience of over 80 people, at Carrington Bowling Club, followed by a bush dance, with an enthusiastic crowd and a team of Auslan, tactile Auslan and finger spelling interpreters ensuring everyone was part of the dance action.
Hunter Deafblind Peers is a peer support group with five members who all use different modes of communication. “We wanted to make a film to raise awareness about deafblindness,” said Jex Truran-Lakaev, the founder of Hunter Deafblind Peers. Styled on the ABC’s “You Can’t Ask That” series, the film features peer group members answering questions ranging from, “How do you wake up in the morning?” to “What’s worse, being deaf or being blind?” – questions that deafblind people are commonly asked.
Within only a few days of launching the film has been viewed more than 12,000 times online and has been shared all over the world.
Jex said, “It’s about letting people know we exist. Even though we are deafblind we just communicate in different ways… we go about things differently to achieve the same outcomes. I think most people have absolutely no idea that we exist, let alone how we go about things. We want to let people know what they can do to help make the world a bit easier for us to navigate.”
A second film celebrates the founding and growth of Hunter Deablind Peers, which is the first and only group of its kind in the region. When Jex moved up from Wollongong, he didn’t know any deafblind people in the area. He was keen to meet others but didn’t know how. With the help of Justine Lorenz, a strong community supporter and advocate, they reached out to people in a similar situation, and so the group was born in early 2015.
This project was funded through Team Up and the Hunter Deafblind Peers were assisted in filming and production by 3x3 Media.