Sisters set up cooking class for the deaf
Two Auckland sisters are helping deaf people living in isolation connect with others through a cooking class.
Mt Eden resident Yolanda Sutton, 49, began the cooking class five years ago with her profoundly deaf sister Natasha Jumelet from Mt Roskill after they formed the Deaf Wellbeing Club.
Having grown up knowing the challenges deaf people face in society, the sisters thought the cooking classes could help others in the community.
‘‘Natasha was working as a support worker at the time and she would talk about her concerns for this group of deaf people who also suffered from Mental Health issues,’’ Sutton said.
‘‘They all had very little social contact and led extremely isolated lives. One her clients in their 40s mentioned they only ate fish fingers and oven chips because no one had ever taught her how to cook.’’
The monthly cooking classes were held at Sutton’s home but as word got out, they had to hire a venue to numbers.
Deaf people from all over Auckland attend, including those in south and west Auckland, and as far as Whangarei.
‘‘Our group is so important to its members, for many we are the only social contact they have. And accommodate the they enjoy it - they enjoy being taught recipes through sign language and shown how to cook these meals. It’s the best part of their month.’’
The club has grown from being just a cooking class. They also run educational trips and last year, a group holiday to Wellington.
‘‘For most of them, it was the first time they’ve ever been on a holiday, let alone on a plane and it was so encouraging to be a part of that experience with them,’’ Sutton said.
In February, the club became an incorporated society - the Deaf Wellbeing Society, and could finally apply funding.
While their applications for fundings have not been successful as yet, the sisters are determined not to give up.
‘‘Being deaf is a horrendous handicap and when you combine that with mental health, it can seem overbearing,’’ Jumelet said. for grants and