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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Nov 7, 1998  4:08 pm
Subject:  Deaf Relief In Nicaragua

November 7, 1998
Good Morning SignWriting List!

I hope this message finds you well and happy :-)

I am sure you all know that SignWriting is used in Nicaragua. But it didn't
happen has been accomplished by years of dedication and hard
work under the most difficult circumstances. The poverty is extreme there,
and the school for the deaf in Bluefields, Nicaragua, was set up in the
middle of this poverty, by James and Judy Shepard Kegl. Others have helped
out. Wonderful people visit and work for short periods of time there.
Darline Clark Gunsauls, who works with me, taught SignWriting at the
Bluefields school in the summer of 1996. Darline came home from Nicaragua
and told me about the poverty there, and it is hard to imagine that people
can survive it.

If you would like to read about SignWriting in Nicaragua, go to this page
on the web:

SignWriting In Nicaragua

This morning I received a personal message from James Shepard Kegl. It was
proper that he sent the message to me privately, because it requests
financial aid for the Deaf victims in Nicaragua, and technically we are not
supposed to solicit funds on the SignWriting List.

So...I want you to know that I take full responsibility for this message to
the List.

Charles Butler is his last message mentioned the fact that I have long-term
illness. That is true. I was born with a genetic problem that my sister has
too. But we are survivors and we are also terribly fortunate. We have
enough to eat and clean water to drink. We live in nice houses and we have
a chance to do creative things like SignWriting. That is the very reason
why I am working so hard...I want to give something back to the world for
all the gifts the world has handed me.

So I am now posting James Shepard Kegl's message about Deaf Relief in
Nicaragua - I hope some of you will write to James and Judy privately and
will open your hearts to help...Here it is:

Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 01:25:02 -0500 (EST)
Mime-Version: 1.0
To: SignWriting List
From: Judy Kegl

Dear Valerie,
I didn't want to post the following on your SW chat line because I'm not
comfortable using it as a vehicle for solications for money, but these are
difficult times... Anyway, if you view it as appropriate, please post this.
Otherwise, pass it among your friends. We are actively coordinating this
plan with UNICEF, but it's not a sure thing just yet. I don't want to get
caught with my pants down, however, so I am raising the cash now. (We have
enough funds for 20 kids/60 days, but this would require a diversion from
next summer's budget. Obviously, I prefer to raise additional funds now.
If not, we will see to it that the money goes directly to those who need

Anyway, here's the message: (ps., thank you -- James)
>November 7, 1998
>To our friends and supporters:
>As many of you are aware, Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects not only
>operates Escuelita de Bluefields, but also conducts linguistic research
>throughout Nicaragua. (Unlike the school, our research work is public
>grant funded.) We estimate there are some 3,000 Deaf people living in
>Nicaragua. We have documented about 50% of them -- compiling their family
>backgrounds and videotaping their signing capabilities for linguistic
>analysis. Our field work has taken us to areas severely affected by
>Hurricane Mitch.
>At the present time, we are sharing our data base with rescue workers in
>an effort to assist in the location of Deaf Nicaraguans living in very
>remote areas. In many instances, our records are superior to those
>maintained by the local authorities.
>We have received a plea from the Deaf Association in Managua to provide
>financial assistance in supporting Deaf refugees in the shelters that are
>being set up in Nicaragua. However, we would prefer to administer aid
>directly to those in desperate need. To that end, we have proposed to
>both the Deaf Association and UNICEF to bring, for starters, some 20 Deaf
>children from western Nicaragua to our dormitory facilities in Bluefields
>for a period of 60 days, starting asap.
>This will entail hiring additional staff, not to mention food costs. We
>are hoping to avoid a reduction of services to children who will be
>returning to our school in January by raising emergency relief funding now.
>UNICEF reports that at least 10% of Nicaragua's national population is
>homeless. The infrastructure in much of the country has been completely
>destroyed. There is no potable water. Corpses are everywhere, and
>epidemics seem inevitable. Some of the towns hardest hit are areas where
>Nicaraguan Sign Language has spread; in other areas, Deaf children have
>only minimal communication skills.
>With our school in Bluefields, an area fortunately spared the ravages of
>Mitch, we are in a postion to help Deaf victims in ways other relief
>agencies cannot do . We are asking our supporters to help us to render
>aid to displaced Deaf children by sending us checks to NSLP, Inc. with the
>notation "Mitch relief". We will use these funds to defray costs in
>bringing in children to our Bluefields dormitory or as direct aid to
>impacted Deaf families.
>Our mailing address is NSLP, Inc. is P.O. Box 763, Summit, NJ 07901.
>Donations to NSLP are tax-deductible.
>Thank you so much for your generosity at this critical time. We will keep
>you posted.
>James Shepard-Kegl

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SW


Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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