Introduction

Deaf.bg stands as the amalgamation of three prominent organizations dedicated to advancing the rights and progress of the deaf community in Bulgaria: the Listen Up Foundation, Vzaimno Foundation, and The Active Deaf Youth Organization (ADYO). United in purpose, we strive to cultivate a contemporary, prosperous, and dynamic deaf community, emphasizing empowerment, linguistics, education, and technology as cornerstones of our mission.

Historically, innovation within the deaf community was unpopular. Being deaf was perceived as a dependency, perpetuating a patronizing model of care that marginalized deaf individuals and alienated them from modern society. This approach led to significant developmental delays due to the suppression of personal growth, lack of accessible communication environments, and inadequate quality education. Additionally, the prevalence of 'audism' (the dominance of hearing people over deaf individuals) and 'tokenism' (exploiting deaf individuals for personal gain, advertising, or self-expression) meant that deaf people were often sidelined in decisions about their language, culture, and identity. Consequently, the number of educated, literate, active, and successful deaf citizens remains disappointing.

Our mission is to transform public attitudes and amplify the leadership roles of deaf individuals, aligning with the principles outlined in the Charter of the World Federation of the Deaf. We aim to introduce innovations and train many deaf individuals to actively participate in developing the Bulgarian Sign Language and the deaf community.

Recognizing the need for change is the first step towards ensuring that deaf people in Bulgaria can rightfully claim their place in society, and change is underway – The Bulgarian Sign Language Actserves as our roadmap for the future. Our mottos, 'Nothing about us without us!' and 'Deaf lead!' underline our commitment to this cause.