International (MNN) — Today marks the beginning of the International Week of Deaf People. The World Federation of the Deaf marks this occasion every year to raise awareness of the global Deaf community and its needs.
“The International Week of the Deaf is to highlight the fact that Deaf people are a distinct people group with their own language and culture, and help other people understand how important it is for Deaf people to have access to information in their language,” says Rob Myers, President/CEO of DOOR International, a global Deaf ministry.
Imagine being stuck in China and you couldn’t access anything in English or talk to anyone who speaks English. How would you order food or find out when the next bus comes?
A Deaf person faces similar barriers because their heart language is a sign language.
“Many Deaf people experience frustration when it comes to getting access to information. Many times, information is not available, or it’s denied. A classic example is if a Deaf person ends up in the hospital and a doctor wants to communicate with them,” Myers says.
“Most of the time, that doctor doesn’t know sign language. Unless an interpreter is there, the Deaf person is either forced to gesture back and forth or to write notes. If they don’t have a lot of familiarity with the written language, that can create a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation.”
This information void includes the Gospel. Approximately 98 percent of the world’s 70 million Deaf people have no access to God’s Word in their sign language or a Deaf Christian who can tell them about Jesus.
You can help DOOR International change this reality. “The next step is to connect with Deaf leaders and connect with Deaf organizations like DOOR,” Myers says.
“Learn more about the Deaf experience and the needs in the Deaf community.”
Header image courtesy of World Federation of the Deaf.