I have wonderful deaf friends over twitter. I only learned they were deaf when they brought it up. Over the online social network, they sound like any typical young professional over the internet. They have work; they go out. They cherish life and rant about it just like any other people do. It never crossed my mind that they’re different or they have struggles in life.
But being at the press conference of the BREAK THE SILENCE RUN last week gave me a glimpse to the different side of the deaf population. They are prone to being sexually abused. Since local government offices are not trained to assist deaf people, most of the victims ended up without resolution to their cases.
On the other hand, I learned a lot of cool things about DEAF people that we hearing-able people may never experience. As JP Muanes, one of the co-founder of Gualandi Volunteer Service Programme Inc, stated:
“There’s more good things about deafness than just being deaf—the person itself, their capabilities, and even the unique community. When you get into their community, deaf persons are actually talking with their hands and are listening with their eyes—looking at your hand signals and your facial expressions.” via This Cebuano is on a mission to create a better future for deaf Pinoys | loQal – Nation and World | Philippines.
Here are a few there-are-more-to-being-deaf I learned during the short time I was in the middle of them during the “Break the SILENCE RUN” press conference. And, a little way we can help in promoting and keeping the beautiful side of the deaf culture is to join the Break the SILENCE RUN. This will help promote awareness of the strength of deaf people to public and private offices that they will not be overlooked on opportunities. It will also help the Gualandi Volunteers in providing assistance to the deaf (providing medical / legal assistance, teach them sign language, work with some local government offices like police to provide special department to assist the deaf, and others).
1. They are very lively and TALKATIVE. It amazes me that they are very expressive and interactive despite having no audible way of talking. So do not hesitate to interact with them. They will be nice enough to adjust to you.
2. They can better understand in English language. This may be due to sign language is in English. So if you want to converse with them, better do it in English. But deaf people have a different way of using the English language. So even if you communicate in English via writing to them, you still need someone to re-interpret it to them.
3. They have an award-winning movie about them, deaf. “Abot Kamay” (Within Hand’s Reach) is directed by Victor Villanueva, who is also the director of “My Paranormal Romance.” The “Abot Kamay” won a production grant from Advocacy Filmmaking Program, and also 1st place in Active Vista Film Festival.
4. They probably can be considered natural actors. With how they can be theatrical in expressing their selves, it probably is easy for them to relay emotions via actions.
5. They have a cool way of clapping (applause) their hands,
6. And saying “I love you” through hand sign is as sweet as French way of saying “je t’aime” with a pouty lips.
7. They have mountaineers. Denven Verano learned mountain climbing and going on adventure trips by simply observing other mountaineers.
8. DEAF community has a cool UCB, United Colors of (B)volunteers. As one of the audience commented that there are more foreigner volunteers than Filipinos.
But nevertheless, we have wonderful Filipino supporting Gualandi.
JP Maunes overcame a disability in his childhood with a help of deaf person, Peter Paul. Peter Paul inspired him that having a disability does not mean a disability to live life to the fullest. Read more about JP Maunes inspiring story here >>.
If you want to add to the roster of the wonderful volunteers of the Gualandi, check more about them here >>, gvspvolunteers.org/ — their website was also made by a volunteer. It’s easy to volunteer for them as you can pick what task / area you best can be of help to them, and when you can do it.
For the meantime, you can join and share with your friends the “BREAK THE SILENCE RUN: Stop Deaf Child Abuse 4K/8K/16K/Open to PWD (People with Disability)” this coming April 21, 2013 at Ayala Terraces, Cebu City. For more information, see here >>.
Watch out for interview with deaf runners!