APF would like to highlight some of the accomplishments of the Deaf Reach program of the Family Educational Services Foundation (FESF). Since 1984, FESF has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all members of the Pakistani community, especially those who are disadvantaged.  By investing in PSL (Pakistan Sign Language) learning resources, Deaf Reach is working to make literacy, education, and skills training accessible to deaf students.

The Deaf Reach Program

Feature by  Maham Ayub

Education is a fundamental right for every deaf child. However, in developing countries such as Pakistan, this is not always the case. In Pakistan, there are over one million deaf children, but less than 5% of those attend school. Richard Geary, Executive Director and Founder of the Deaf Reach Program, a project of Family Educational Services Foundation (FESF), set out to change this narrative and give deaf children the same basic rights to education as their hearing peers. Based in Karachi, the Deaf Reach Program also has school campuses in Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Sukkur, Tando Allahyar, and Lahore.

The Schools

Inside Deaf Reach Schools students receive a quality education on par with any high-end school in Pakistan. Students not only excel in basic academic skills such as English, math, science and Islamic studies, but all students 10 years and up learn vocational skills as well. All of the Deaf Reach campuses offer courses in cooking, nutrition, IT skills, coding, arts, embroidery, sewing, and handicrafts.


The teachers at Deaf Reach are highly trained and mentor new incoming teachers to help build their capacity. Because of the lack of teacher training programs in Pakistan, Deaf Reach identifies high achieving students and encourages them to pursue a career in deaf education. Deaf Reach provides training in marketable skills and assists students in the employment process, working closely with the corporate sector to provide job opportunities when they are ready to graduate. The program has helped over 800 deaf students to attain employment at a range of companies including: Alfalah Bank, Allied Caterpillar, Continental Biscuits, DHL, Engro, KFC, Pizza Hut, Sheraton Hotels, Shell, UBL Bank and numerous SME entreprises.

Local and Global Engagement

Apart from academics, Deaf Reach schools want their students to be well rounded individuals and become productive citizens in society. In addition to classroom studies, students engage in various civic activities and are invited to participate in events all over Pakistan and abroad. Deaf Reach showcased pottery made by students at the Pakistan Annual Flower Show. Ali Noonari, one of Deaf Reach's regional managers who is deaf himself represented Deaf Reach at events in Taiwan, Saudia Arabia, and at the summer Deaflympics in Turkey. With great pride, he has presented Pakistan Sign Language books to Deaf leaders from around the world. Rabia Aslam, a Deaf Reach College student, was chosen as a country delegate to represent Pakistan at the International Global Disability Summit in London.

Two outstanding Deaf Reach students, Usman and Babar, were awarded five-year fully paid residential scholarships to attend the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut - a first for Pakistani deaf students!

Community Outreach
Deaf Reach attended the Lux Style Awards where Deaf Reach Ambassadors interpreted Shahzad Roy's song "Kya Dartha Hai" in Pakistan Sign Language - PSL. Prominent industry professionals from Lollywood, such as Farhan Saeed, Mohsin Abbas Haider, Amanat Ali, Faakhir and several others were in attendance. Deaf Reach and the Coke Studio  music program collaborated to initiate greater inclusion with the launch of "Coke Studio for the Deaf." With the installation of new technology, people with limited hearing ability were able to experience the joy of listening to music. 

The Deaf community of Pakistan can experience Coke Studio like never before.  Innovative technology has been installed at the Deaf Reach School and College in Karachi for people with little or no hearing ability to be able to experience music.

Rizwan U. Khan, the General Manager of Coca-Cola Pakistan stated,  "Coke Studio is a totally unique phenomenon which resonates deeply with all audiences, across cultures, gender, age and other barriers, and makes them proud to be Pakistanis. 9 million people with some form of hearing loss of our population were unable to experience the magic Coke Studio creates through its music. With the technology setup now easily accessible locally, we want to invite the larger Deaf community to experience the system and create a stronger sense of inclusion, inspiration and pride with the music of Pakistan."

Hygiene and Health

Deaf Reach has also partnered with Dettol to educate deaf students about the importance of hygiene and handwashing. Mrs. Mehrin Abrar, the principal of the Deaf Reach School in Karachi says, "I feel it's so important to teach deaf children about health and hygiene. In learning these things, they will automatically educate their parents and families as well. This may seem like a small initiative, but it will have a major impact on the country." Along with hygiene, first aid procedures are also important skills that the deaf community needs to be aware of. The Deaf Reach School in Hyderabad has collaborated with Hilal -e- Ahmer Hospital (Red Crescent) to arrange a First Aid training session for staff members at Deaf Reach. With the staff being highly trained, a safe and healthy environment is ensured for all students.

Volunteer Work and Awards

Today, the Deaf Reach Program has collaborated with various companies and organizations to bring awareness to their cause and have their students showcase their talents to the world. Artisans from the Deaf Reach Schools collaborated with the Defense Housing Authority and Cantonment Board Clifton. FESF is also a recipient of the  2017  i-CARE Awards . This was an esteemed honor for Founder and Executive Director, Richard Geary, who received the award from  i-Care Trustee,   Dr. Ishrat Husain and  i-Care Chairman,  Mr. Farroukh Captain. To open the event, Deaf Reach students performed the National Anthem to commemorate the 10th Anniversary celebration of the i-Care Foundation.