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A Spanish Christian ministry for deaf people, organises a Sign Language course in Barcelona. “Our society is not fully dedicated to the integration of deaf people”, one of the teachers says.
The Christian ministry for deaf people “Micrisordos” has organised a Catalan sign language course in Barcelona, Spain, where they students will learn the basics of this language. It is an intensive course of 30 hours, taught by two experts in Catalan sign language.
The Spanish online newspaper, Protestante Digital, has talked with one of the teachers, about the course and the situation of the deaf people in the society and in the local church.
Question. Who should attend this course?
Answer. There are many deaf young people in the churches in Barcelona, who cannot communicate with their families, because they do not know how to sign. This course was create to solve that need.
However, it is a course for anybody who wants to learn more about Catalan sign language, it does not matter if he is a believer or not. It is not a religious course.
Q. What will the students learn?
A. It is a basic course of 30 hours, so those who attend will have a basic vocabulary, they will learn the names of animals, days of the week,etc, and will be able to have a basic conversation with deaf people.
A CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY
Q. As Christians, why is it important to learn Sign Language?
A. As Christians, our goal is to share the message of salvation with everybody. When a deaf person comes to church, we should not leave them without that message.
Deaf people are in our society and we can meet them everywhere. The local church should try to fulfil their needs too. Serving the deaf community is a big responsibility for Christians.
Q. When a deaf person approaches a hearing person, what should we do? Should we try to communicate even though we do not know how to sign, or is it better to look for an interpreter?
A. We should make an effort and try to communicate with them. If we have patience, we will be able to understand each other. The deaf person will also realize that he has to sign slower. Both deaf and hearing people need to make their part.
Some deaf people know how to read the lips if the other person articulates clearly.
If the hearing person realizes that the communication is difficult, just take a pen and a paper and write what you want to say. Sometimes deaf people do not understand what you are saying, but nod anyway.
Q. Is the deaf community integrated in our society?
A. Our society is not fully dedicated to the integration of deaf people. It is not easy, for instance, to find Sign Language courses, if someone is interested, he must call deaf associations to see if they have courses.
On the other hand, so often, when a hearing person has to talk with a deaf person, he just say “hello”, and “goodbye”. Dealing with the deaf community requires and effort, and not everybody is willing to make it.