Deaf Community Development
Based out of Kampong Cham and Kampot provinces, outreach teams of deaf and hearing field workers travel for up to four hours on motorbikes to find deaf people in remote villages. Our field workers report that almost all the deaf people they encounter cannot communicate in sign language, have never attended school, cannot read or write, and have few to no communication skills (they cannot even use and understand simple gestures). Additionally, prior to meeting a deaf field worker, the deaf people in these villages have rarely met another deaf person.
After locating deaf people in the villages, the outreach team works to raise awareness about deafness with families and community members – providing education on the rights of deaf people, deaf culture, and Cambodian Sign Language. The team will often bring together deaf individuals from neighboring villages to form a commune group, giving these deaf people the opportunity to meet one another and learn some Cambodian Sign Language. At these gatherings, the field workers also strive to teach the family members some sign language and to cover basic community education topics.
Deaf Community Centers
The Deaf Development Programme (DDP) has three Deaf Community Centers (DCC) in Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, and Kampot. Staff at these centers facilitate regular recreational, social, and educational activities for deaf community members – in support of DDP’s goal to develop a collective Deaf identity and to build strong foundations for the Deaf community in Cambodia. In the future, DCC hopes to offer additional leadership training to better equip deaf community members with the skills they need to establish and lead regional committees that will be responsible for each center.
What’s New in the Deaf Community Development project?