A deaf Wellington man says he's furious after a woman apparently pretending to be deaf so she could try to sell sign-language cards, came into his work. Deaf Action New Zealand has laid a complaint with police after reports of people in Wellington and Auckland trying to sell the cards for $5 each.
It says the cards, which say 'sign language in the world deaf' and have pictures of the sign language alphabet, are not being sold by people with any affiliation to any deaf organisations or clubs. Speaking through an interpreter, Cameron Ross said one woman had come into his work, selling the cards.
He said he approached her, and it was quickly clear she did not know sign language - and that she was able to hear. "I said: 'Look, what you're doing is illegal and completely I disagree with what you're doing', and then she just disappeared basically. "She didn't respond to me in any way except for that first interaction when she said she was deaf, because she couldn't sign at all."
It was not a good look for the deaf community, and could damage their reputation, and ability to fundraise, he said. Deaf Action's secretary Rachel Noble said a similar scam happened in the 1990s. Then, the Inland Revenue Department thought that people collecting money were from New Zealand deaf organisations and wanted tax from that income. People were going into shops and cafes asking for money, Ms Noble said.
The UK has these people too, most of them eastern European migrants who go from pub to pub selling key rings for £3 'to help deaf people'. ATR countered one of them with sign and the man ran out of the room. The problem is deaf people supporting charities and begging for funding themselves, this suggests to hearing someone asking them to contribute is valid. The answer is deaf people rejecting charity and thus making mainstream aware we aren't beggars in the first place. If we aren't 'charity cases' prove it.