Graduates from the only available education course for deaf adults in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, have been given the opportunity to develop their careers; working in a hairdressing shop.
The barbers in the shop are all deaf, having attended the course which was set up by an American priest, Charlie Dittmeier. Thirteen years ago he created the Deaf Development Programme (DDP) after realising many deaf Cambodian adults had no access to sign language, and therefore education.
Until the late 1990s, Cambodia had no native sign language. Many deaf adults have spent their lives working in the fields or as cattle herders.
Trainee barber, Oeun Darong , said: “I didn’t have any contact outside of my family. It was like being in prison. I was stuck there. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have any education.” He added that he once thought he was the only deaf person in the world.
The DDP is one of only two groups running schools for people with hearing problems in Cambodia. The other group is for children. During the course, students aged 16+ spend two years learning simple sign language, writing, reading and other life skills. A third year is then spent in job training, in places such as the hairdressing shop.
There are estimated to be over 50,000 deaf people living in Cambodia, and very few of these have any knowledge of sign language. But this situation is not unique.
“Worldwide, deaf children and young people are often denied an education, including in sign language,” said Shantha Rau Barriga, the Disability Rights Director at New York-based Human Rights Watch. “Sign language is critical for deaf people to be able to communicate, express themselves and learn.”
Upon arrival at the DDP school, one of the first things students do is to choose their own sign name. This acts as an important step towards leaving behind their old life of isolation: “I met lots of deaf people here who are now my friends,” said Darong. “I’m not by myself anymore.”
Read the original article here -: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2014/01/13/2003581172/1
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. Find out how to write for us by clicking here, how to follow us by clicking here, and read our disclaimer here.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out about 5 funny ways to use captions!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people