Thousands of deaf and hard of hearing children live in refugee camps around the world. Denied access to sign language and hearing aids, these kids are unable to attend school, make friends or communicate with their family members. Still struggling with the trauma of war and harsh reality of life in a refugee camp, these children are lost without language.
Making a Difference
The Deaf Defy team travels to desolate refugee camps, providing audiological care, hearing aids and sign language instruction to deaf and hard of hearing children. We also train teachers and social workers to ensure sustainability in every camp we serve. Ours is the world's first Deaf-led humanitarian aid team to do such work: providing both language counseling and hearing health care to those in need. These missions are funded entirely through public support and every penny goes towards the equipment, hearing aids and supplies we use in the camps.
Communicating for the first time
Deaf Planet Soul is a team led by strong Deaf professionals. We are well-aware of and firmly committed to the importance of sign language and visual communication amongst deaf children. Coming into this mission, we were overwhelmed at the thought of thousands of deaf children––many made deaf by the war itself––struggling to communicate with friends and family once resettled in strange, scary new refugee camps. We made the decision to commit heavily to patient counseling and the provision of sign language resources. We're so glad we did. Check out the video below to see one of our kids signing for the first time:
Hearing for the First Time
Whether profoundly deaf or mildly hard of hearing, we worked with each patient to ensure they had the hearing aids they needed to be safe and understand the world around them. In many of these camps, commuters buzz around in cars and motorcycles, honking as they approach. Without hearing aids, our deaf patients were constantly at risk of being hit––during our second mission, in fact, we had one patient come in with a cast. Unable to hear the traffic around her, she'd been hit by a car and broken her arm. In settings like refugee camps, hearing aids do more than provide access to speech sounds; they save lives.
Check out this video of one of our patients experiencing sound for the first time: