Lived Experience Storyteller: Monica Leach

A pakeha woman with short grey hair and glasses

About Monica

My name is Monica Leach, and I have been living in Auckland for nearly 20 years as I am originally from the UK. I obtained my degree from a UK university and went on an exchange to California for one semester. I also did voluntary work in Kenya, East Africa. I am married to a lovely Deaf Kiwi husband who graduated from Gallaudet University in Washington DC. Together, we have two wonderful teenage boys aged 16 and 15, both of whom are CODA - Children of Deaf Adults.

I hold several roles within the community. Firstly, I work as an administrator for the Deaf Wellbeing Society (DWS). Additionally, I am a qualified tutor for New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), teaching both onsite and Zoom classes for over 50 students through the NZSL4U company. Moreover, I conduct home visits to teach sign language to families with deaf children. I am also a part of the Auckland COGS committee (COGS stands for Community Organisation Group Scheme) and serve as the secretary for NZSTLA - NZ Sign Language Tutor Association (NZSLTA) Northern Branch, where I support events for sign language students.

During my personal time, I enjoy walking and am also a member of the committee for the ADS Outdoor Deaf Adventure Club. In the past, I have participated in the Oxfam 50km walk twice and am keen on doing the 100km Oxfam walk. However, finding a team and coordinating fundraising has proven to be challenging. I have a strong interest in meeting people from diverse backgrounds and have organized several CODA camps with Deaf parents. Additionally, I continue to do voluntary work to support the Deaf community and other support communities, as it is a genuine passion of mine.

I am eagerly looking forward to giving a short presentation about employment opportunities for Deaf people.