Ways to Help Deaf People in Developing Countries

Do you want to make a difference in the life of a deaf person, particularly a child, in a developing country? Whether you wish to volunteer or give monetary donations, the options are many. What follows is a sample of these options.

A boy with an earpiece in smiling
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Nongovernmental Organizations

Quota International

Quota International is a large nonprofit with a long history of helping deaf people. Quota began helping deaf people as far back as 1946. Although the headquarters is in the United States, Quota has clubs around the world. Quota has a charitable arm, the We Share Foundation, that provides educational support in developing countries. We Share Foundation has a Club to Club program that has local Quota clubs run community projects.

A few examples of Quota International's work in one country, the Philippines:

  • Quota International of Iloilo, Philippines supported the Leganes Resource Center for the Deaf, which they started to provide free education to deaf children.
  • Quota International of Las Piñas, Philippines is teaching deaf children there.
  • Quota International of Legazpi-Mayon, Philippines is training deaf women in sewing skills.

Deaf Children Worldwide

The UK-based Deaf Children Worldwide has regional programs. At the time this article was written, the regional programs in place were in Indian, Kenya, Bangladesh, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Deaf Children Worldwide also has a small grant program that supports local organizations working with deaf children in developing countries. The program has supported and continues to support a wide variety of projects all over the world. Typical projects supported were things such as learning sign language, parents' associations, vocational training, and deaf clubs. Almost 30 different countries were found through the database of projects.

In addition, Deaf Children Worldwide provides information on additional nongovernmental organizations (primarily UK-based) and volunteer opportunities through another database on the site.

Sound Seekers

Sound Seekers is another UK-based organization trying to make a difference for deaf children. One of their key accomplishments is in bringing audiological services directly to deaf children in hard-to-reach places. This is done through HARK, a mobile ear clinic. (Pictures of the HARK can be seen throughout their website.) Another accomplishment is the offering of audiology maintenance technology, training people to fit hearing aids and make earmolds.

Sense International

Also UK-based, Sense International aids deafblind people by working through partnerships.

Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO)

VSO offers volunteer opportunities for teachers of the deaf as well as teachers of the blind. Searching the VSO site on the "deaf" keyword turns up stories of volunteers' experiences in addition to information on deaf-related VSO projects.

U.S. Federal Government Assistance

One of the primary sources of help for deaf people in developing countries is the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Examples of USAID's work to help deaf people in developing countries include:

  • Supporting training of deaf education teachers through the Tusome Literacy Program in Kenya.
  • Supporting the training of members of an association of the deaf in Uganda to become sign language trainers
  • Helping deaf people in Jamaica who wish to teach deaf children, to develop the skills needed to enter teachers' college
  • Supporting a deaf Iraqi association in its teaching of sewing

Foundations Providing Assistance

Some foundations have programs to aid deaf students from other countries. One well-known foundation is the Nippon Foundation. This foundation supports deaf international students at both Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. For example, at Gallaudet, the Nippon Foundation sponsors the Sasakawa International Scholarship. Another scholarship program at Gallaudet is the World Deaf Leadership Scholarship, which aids deaf students with the expectation that they will return to their countries to become leaders of the deaf community there.

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  1. United States Agency for International Development. Improving Education for Deaf Students in Kenya.