Photo credits: Emil Metodiev
Strategy type (tool, event, training course, etc.)
Scope of the practice (local, national, international level)
When did it start/end?
June - October 2020
Name of the organization
City and country
Photo credits: Ivo Daskalov
1. Describe your project briefly
Deaf Chef develops and implements an innovative work model, which creates opportunities for genuine meetings between deaf and hearing people during which both groups can learn more about one another and develop new social connections. The project consists of 4 facilitated cooking sessions with deaf and hearing people, 2 community picnics, and a final event, targeted at restaurateurs. The cooking sessions are led by a deaf facilitator, who using sign language, directs participants on making dishes of his/her choice. Throughout the evening, activities encourage both groups to communicate with one another using sign language. Towards the end of the dinner, hearing participants are invited to practice what they’ve learned in sign language as well as ask questions, while deaf participants are encouraged to talk about their realities, debunking myths and stereotypes about their community. Dinners are followed by community potluck events where participants can once more meet and strengthen their connection with one another, sharing stories of food, family, and belonging. The final event aims to attract restaurateurs who are toying with the idea of having a more diverse workforce. The event aims to show the project's accomplishments and best practice examples from Bulgaria and abroad.
2. What is the aim of the project?
The project’s main goal is to provide an opportunity to meet deaf people and get acquainted with their way of life, to learn more about their culture, unity, wealth, and potential. In addition, the project aims to explore the possibilities of involving young people in the restaurant business. This would allow for long-term meetings between the hearing and the deaf, in which they can learn more about each other and hence break their stereotypes.
3. Who is involved in designing process?
The project was conceived by the team behind Meeting Points with the support of Listen Up and MOGA (Youth Association of Deaf Activists). Both Listen Up and MOGA were instrumental in the realisation of this project as they provided a better understanding of the needs of deaf people and how to best include them throughout the project life cycle.
4. If you could change something, what would you change?
Perhaps what would have made an even greater impact is inviting people of power to participate in the cooking sessions and subsequent picnics. This would have allowed policymakers to meet deaf people in a very authentic environment, learn more about their culture, and the problems they face daily.
5. How did the project impact on civil society?
Our observations suggest that the event design allowed for participants to relax and open themselves to learning more about deaf people and their culture. Preliminary evaluations show that over 90% of the attendees are willing to keep in contact with their newly found deaf acquaintances. During several informal conversations, we have also learnt that participants have learned a lot about deaf people and their lives and have broken personal stereotypes of deaf people and the community as a whole.
6. How did you evaluate the project’s impact?
Following every dinner, participants were invited to share either how they felt during the evening or one new thing they learnt during the event. Participants were also encouraged to fill in a questionnaire, which evaluated their experience and desire to keep in contact with others following the event both quantitatively and qualitatively.
7. Is there anything else would you like to share with us?
The project is supported by Sofia Municipality through their "Social Innovations" Program.