SignZone : No More Worries for the Deaf: Sign Language Available

Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

SignZone aims to provide on-site sign language interpreting service for the deaf and hard of hearing in order to support them to manage their daily lives independently. With a mobile application, the project will create sign language available / deaf-friendly zones through a call center.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if all the deaf and hard of hearing in Turkey could be able communicate in Turkish Sign Language wherever they are or go without hesitation?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Communication in Turkish Sign Language is not generally available for the deaf and hard of hearing in public spaces. Therefore, they either depend on someone else that they know or an interpreter, who they will occasionally pay for - both meaning that they cannot enjoy the full of human rights. Moreover, alternative methods of communication with the deaf such as body language or writing, may result in miscommunication.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Solution proposed is to establish a call center with certified interpreters. Institutions of all kinds - from governmental organizations to publish institutions; from private sector to service industry, will be members of this low-cost call center and will receive a label stating that they are a SignZone. Therefore, whenever a deaf person is in or approaches to one of SignZones, he will not hesitate about how to communicate. With an application, he will be able to reach an interpreter immediately and get a free on-site interpreting service.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

For instance: Deaf person, who primarily uses Turkish Sign Language, goes into a bank in order to open a bank account and would like to learn about options and details. He approaches to the officer and shows that he has already connected to the interpreter at the SignZone Call Center. Since the bank is one of the members of the system, deaf person gets the information needed for free and without hesitation of potential misunderstanding, as if he is a hearing person.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In Short Term: 1. Deaf will enjoy the full of human rights. 2. Deaf will be able to manage the daily life routines independently. In LongTerm: 3. The existence of the system will encourage people to be Turkish Sign Language interpreters and choose this as a decent work and a career.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Main spread strategy has two component: 1. Deaf and Hard of Hearing: need to make sure that all the deaf will have access to video relay services and use SignZone. Word of mouth will be the best strategy here and face-to-face catchy and advertiser group meetings will expand the potential customer pool. 2. Members ( institutions ): Value the service's low cost attribution for the member institutions and emphasize and put forward its publicity value.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Membership fees,will ensure this initiative's financial sustainability.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Turkey, Sign Language interpreting services are arranged by interpreting companies and when the service is requested, they physically send a translator to the site. And, it is possible that the deaf person pays for the interpreting. SignZone as a mobile application available at smartphones will not be time-consuming anymore, will be independent from space and be free for the deaf due to the construction of income generating mechanism.

Founding Story

The moment I realized the need for a radical solution was when a deaf friend and co-worker at the Foundation I founded and work as a General Coordinator, told me about paying for the translator from his own pocket at public notary.
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Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

As a founding member and general coordinator of Dem Foundation in Istanbul, Turkey; I do not only manage a foundation. I also develop revenue generating models. Sign Your Love as a specially designed crowd funding model, is one of them. Sign Your Love is an event adoptable to concept, space and time that establishes first acquaintanceship with Sign Language with theme of love. Participants learn how to sign their love, then get filmed while signing. After editing, participants receive their video. It has already been organized 3 times over the past 9 months. 300 people with no special interest in Sign Language have met with Turkish Sign Language through this model.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?