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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Did you know that the human rights of Deaf people are still routinely violated in virtually all countries, including Canada? Even before the time of Ancient Greece, Deaf people were considered incapable of reason and unworthy of rights or respect. Today, many developing countries still forbid Deaf people to be educated, to own or inherit property, to vote, or to marry. Any human right that applies to the general population must also apply to those who are Deaf.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities include the following:
  • the right to food, clothing, and shelter
  • the right to dignity and respect
  • the right to quality education to the highest level desired
  • the right to communication and information
  • the right to the language of their choice, including sign language
  • the right to freedom and justice
  • the right to equality and access

In the DR Congo, Deaf children often face great challenges due to a lack of understanding in their culture. The Deaf are often regarded as worthless, and have little hope for the future. International Needs’ Ephphata School for the Deaf empowers Deaf children and young adults by providing them with a quality education and skills, enabling them to find employment and contribute to the well-being of their families.

Ephphata School has a garden and grows vegetables and bananas, and farms animals and fish in order to give their students a healthier diet.

“Families in our region tend to be large and many don’t have enough food to eat. It’s hard to concentrate on studies when you’re weak with hunger. We’re happy to be able to help our students eat a more balanced diet.” - Tshinyama Kalosa, School Director.

Technology has reached Ephphata School as well. Computer classes are very popular and can provide a source of income for students, but frequent power outages hinder their progress. There is an urgent need to install solar panels at Ephphata School to produce a constant source of electricity and enable the school to function fully. Solar energy is not only durable, it is also renewable and requires very little maintenance.

When Luc Tshinyoka was two and a half years old his parents noticed that he suddenly stopped talking. He was not ill, nor had he fallen or hurt himself. For no apparent reason, their son had become deaf. Medical doctors were unable to restore Luc’s hearing.

Luc - Wood working class at Ephphata.

The family was devastated. Then Luc’s parents heard of Ephphata School for the Deaf and were hopeful that the school would be able to equip their son to live a more fulfilled life. Luc proved to be a bright student and enjoyed learning. He took up photography and art and over time was able to sell some of his creations. Luc is now learning tailoring and carpentry as he nears the end of his education at Ephphata School.

“We are so thankful to God for the guidance and help our son has received at Ephphata School. He is confident and hardworking and is learning how to be independent.” - Justin Tshinyoka •

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