There is a story that I keep being reminded more frequently of these days due to the lack of deaf awareness and/or hearing aids being provided within the developing countries. I am finding myself becoming more frustrated due to the increasing volume of news in the media of a certain nature from overseas such as the killing of deaf, unarmed Iraqi teens and a deaf man being beaten by cops. They are sadly not the only ones which goes to show how societies urgently need to adapt. The sooner, the better.
A most kind and very patient lady once told me a story about a time when she was a little girl. She had heard on the news a situation about a man crossing a border in another land. The guards had been calling and shouting for him as he crossed the border. Unfortunately they were not acknowledged and he kept on walking. They relatively assumed that this man was posing a threat and was intentionally ignoring them. Hence deciding to shoot him – in the back. For fear that he was intending to carry out terrorist acts. It was only afterwards when they found out he was actually deaf but by then it was too late. For this innocent man who had been killed. This instance left such a mark on her memory and affected her enough to learn about deafness that she felt was a calling to her, to become a teacher for the deaf.
And I am extremely honoured, to have been taught by her.
There are charities such as SoundSeekers who are dedicated to helping deaf and hearing-impaired people, especially children, in the developing world. They develop and support projects that improve access to education, lessen the impact of hearing loss and raise awareness of deaf people’s abilities and needs. I admire them for their dedication and in turn, am being inspired by them to start fundraising for those in dire need of our assistance.
Here in the United Kingdom, we are extremely lucky to have the equipment and services readily available to access which sometimes may be somewhat delayed. Some people may believe that “charity begins at home” but they understandably believe that only due to not being informed that there are a quite a few charities already operating here – campaigning for these changes nationally. In order for us to make more of a difference in developing countries and help those who do not have any resources at all, it would be far more beneficial to them, if we could help those who are missing out even more so as most deaf people outside of Europe struggle to access even basic needs and are extremely isolated. In addition helping deaf people abroad gives deaf people within the UK & abroad, real life work (and cultural) experiences.
Watch this space! (Ta da!)
The next time you call someone from behind them or beep a horn at them and they don’t turn around in response – please…. spare a moment to consider that the person in front of you, may be deaf. Thank you.
This post, I would like dedicate to Suzanne. For listening to her calling and for making such a huge difference to deaf students lives – more than she realises. Thank you – ever so. For being my teacher and for being you. (not to forget for putting up with my/our mischievousness too!)
~ SJ (Sara Jae)