Fundraising campaign for the Deaf Center in Kabul. How often do we complain about noise – the traffic, the neighbors’ 200 watt stereo, airplanes, the non-stop party next door … and long for a little peace and quiet, away from it all
But can you imagine being condemned to that “peace and quiet” permanently? And what if that eternal silence is also went hand in hand with being totally shut out of the society in which you live?
To perhaps give you a vague inkling of what it might be like to be deaf, you could do a little test. Use the most effective earplugs that you can find and try to communicate with a friend, or just be in on a conservation with a number of friends. Ask them to whisper rather than talk normally.
Those without hearing naturally start to develop a sign language. In the western world there are also many helpful technical aids these days to assist the deaf.
But how can deaf people in Afghanistan make themselves heard?
They live – or rather languish – on the edge of society: their families see them as just an extra mouth to feed and of no help at all, society sees them as cursed by Allah.
They are unable to participate in society in any meaningful way at all. For the past three years, Shelter Now has been running a center in Kabul where deaf people – both children and adults – can learn all the things that other schoolchildren in Afghanistan learn. If possible, they then also learn a practical trade with which they can later generate their own income. They also learn sign language.
“I have often visited the Deaf Center and always enjoy going there”, says Udo Stolte from Shelter Now Germany. “I’m always so impressed by the infectious cheerfulness of the students. The desire to learn and work hard, the joy, the friendliness, the sense of dignity that the women in particular radiate (they seem to have more of a sense of dignity than other local women who aren't deaf), I'm fascinated by their unaffected manner and their expressive facial movements when using sign language“
This center mustn’t close!
For quite a while now, we haven’t had sufficient funds to keep the center going. But it would be terrible if the students were forced to stop coming before they have completed their training. So we’re starting a campaign:
“Making ourselves heard” We want to gather together sufficient finances to keep the center running throughout 2013. Why not make a donation?! Or even better: come up with an idea for spreading the word. If you’re a teacher: try to manage for half a lesson without sound. Mouth words, use facial expressions and actions instead of speaking – and of course continue to use your other teaching materials. But no spoken (or whispered) words.
You could do something similar with your friends, home group, women’s group, mother and toddlers group ….etc. Donations can be made via the Alvarum website (there’s a barometer showing the level of donations, the overall goal and space to write comments – but you need to adjust the language to English using the drop-down menu in the top right-hand corner)
however you can also donate via our “Help now” button, using Paypal