Folk and Sprak

Most parents in Papua New Guinea (=PNG) don’t know what to do with their deaf children. In some villages fathers carry their deaf child into the jungle and run away so the child gets lost and dies alone in the jungle…

Many of PNG’s languages have no word for ”deaf”, instead they say ”crazy” or ”stupid”. So deaf people are often overlooked and become the poorest among the poor. Being deaf ourselves, we have visited them all over PNG since 2010 to learn about their needs and challenges and how to improve their lives. An estimated 30,000 pre-lingual deaf people live in PNG. Almost all of them can neither read, nor write, nor sign. They just point at things and use few simple gestures.

Many parents have desperately asked us for a book to learn sign language together with their deaf child. The project is therefore to develop an user-friendly self-learning book for them. It would contain sign language, pictures, and words in both English and Tok Pisin (PNG’s lingua franca). So the book would teach them to sign, read and write. Such a book would help parents to raise their deaf child into secure adults with a rich sign language which makes it possible to learn a written language so they can study and interact with other people freely.

It means a brighter future and equality for the deaf people in Papua New Guinea, who still today grow up into adults without any language or are abandoned in the jungle. Imagine that still happening today, in 2014!