International (MNN) — In one way or another, the pandemic has been hard on everyone. It’s especially difficult for the global Deaf community.
“COVID hit Deaf communities extremely hard,” DOOR International’s Rob Myers says. “Those who are oppressed in society become the most vulnerable when major crises hit. We see that happening not just in Deaf communities but in several marginalized groups.”
Deaf needs multiplied when the pandemic started. “Back in February and March of 2020, we were flooded with reports [from the field],” Myers says. People were reaching out to DOOR’s Deaf leaders for help.
“Many times, Deaf people will have manual labor jobs or other positions that might be seasonal, and once lockdowns happen, those tend to be the first jobs to go.”
At first, Deaf leaders used their own money to pay for supplies, but the need quickly outpaced their resources. “They reached out to our leadership and said, ‘We would love for people to come alongside us and support these families,’” Myers says.
“Because we’re putting food into the hands of church planters or local Deaf pastors, that allows them to share the Gospel where people find themselves most desperate for hope,” Myers says.
“We’ve seen some tremendous impact, both [in] meeting physical needs in the Deaf community, as well as sharing the Gospel.”
Help Deaf kids stay in school
In Kenya, DOOR’s 2-by-2 church planting teams learned of desperate needs at a residential Deaf school. “The school was beginning to run out of food, so the kids were going down to one or two meals a day,” Myers says.
School administrators realized how important it was to keep students enrolled, but running out of food made that goal seem impossible.
“People need to understand that Deaf schools are a critical part of the Deaf community. Schools become a place where these kids build relationships, build language, grow, and develop with one another,” Myers says.
“Many children who enter Deaf schools have never been exposed to language before. They’ve never had a lengthy conversation with their parents because their parents don’t know sign language,” he continues.
“Many kids who enter those schools don’t even know they have a name.”
DOOR’s 2-by-2 team answered administrators’ and students’ prayers alike when they showed up with food aid supplied through the “30 for 30” program. Urgent needs like these continue worldwide today; you can support the program here.
“Providing for physical needs opens up that opportunity to share the hope of Jesus with them, and that’s what we’ve been so excited to see happen,” Myers says.
The children at a residential Deaf school in Mundika, Kenya, were missing meals because the school’s food stores were empty.
(Photo, caption courtesy of DOOR International)