Imagine being unable to communicate with the world around you. You hear only silence and no words that come out of your mouth or gestures you make can be understood by the people around you.
This is a reality for countless children born deaf or with other disabilities. In the world’s least developed countries, children with disabilities often face a double disability—their own physical or intellectual impairment plus long-held cultural beliefs that being disabled is divine punishment or a curse. Not only to do these children lack access to appropriate care and rehabilitation, they are often excluded from school and family life.
Handicap International works in rural poor communities like Cotagaita, Bolivia, to help children with disabilities get the support they need and acceptance they deserve. We help kids like seven-year-old Judith, who was born deaf and could only express herself using facial expressions and hand gestures.
Our team not only taught her sign language, but they also trained the teachers at her local school how to communicate with her and how to help her gain acceptance in the classroom. Judith is now in school learning and is even teaching her younger brother, Alex, who is also deaf, how to communicate. A whole new world of storytelling and understanding has developed between the siblings.