Teaching the Deaf People | Volunteers Initiative Nepal
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Teaching the Deaf

Program Fees English for Deaf People

Are you a sign language interpreter in your own country? Maybe you know sign language, have Deaf family or have experience working or teaching in a Deaf Community? Are you Deaf yourself? Would you like to be a deaf volunteer in Nepal?

Then your time to volunteer to teaching the deaf people has arrived!

Here at Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN) we believe passionately about the rights of children. And we know that all children, including those with additional disabilities, deserve care and access to education. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specify that children who have any kind of disability should receive special care and support so that they can live a full and independent life. Children also have a right to an education, regardless of which country they were born in. In Nepal however there is still a lot of discrimination, lack of knowledge about Deaf people’s rights and stigma associated with disabilities. Children are not receiving the education and support that they need. Here in Kathmandu there is a school for deaf children and we can use the support of people like you to volunteer for deaf people, to help improve the lives of our deaf youth.

The World Federation of the Deaf stipulates that governments and societies, especially in developing countries, often ignore the rights of deaf people. The majority of the world’s deaf people do not even have access to any type of education. Often when they do, the teachers are not fully qualified themselves in appropriate sign language. Deaf children need sign language role models; they need access to Nepali Sign Language (NSL) and access to education. We need people to volunteer to teach English to deaf people in Nepal and to volunteer to support the deaf school. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has identified Nepal as one of the world’s least developed countries. There are still substantial barriers for full economic development and for systematized education and equality for children, women and people with disabilities.

Teaching the deaf people is a relatively new concept in Nepal, previously many deaf children would turn to the streets to beg or be locked away in the family home. Now, having schools for deaf children is a massive step forward towards equality for all. Here at VIN we need more volunteers to work with these children, to support the teachers in the classroom and to encourage a happy and safe learning environment. Teaching and learning can be fun – for both the teachers and the children. The more support they have, the better their long term chances are in life! So come and help volunteer to teach deaf people in Nepal! Be a deaf volunteer!

Is Nepali Sign Language (NSL) Different to other sign languages?

Yes. Many people think that sign language is universal, that all countries use the same hand signals. But this is not true. Not everyone in the world speaks the same spoken language, and it is the same for sign languages around the globe. You don’t need to already understand NSL, you will still find your own way to communicate with the teacher and the students. It is of great benefit however that you understand how sign languages work and have knowledge of deaf communities.

While you are here you may like to also visit the National Association of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (NADH) to learn more about the Deaf communities in Nepal. Be a deaf volunteer, or volunteer to teach deaf children in Nepal. Your time and passion is welcomed! We look forward to working with you.

It is important that you respect the Nepali language and aim to preserve its integrity. It is not ideal for the language and culture itself to have other signed language influence. However you will still be able to communicate with the children in giving activity instructions, playing games, and joining them in the classroom. The benefit for them is priceless and the experience you’ll get will be life changing. Volunteering to teach deaf children in Nepal, whether you’re a hearing or a deaf volunteer yourself, will be challenging and enriching. You will know that you are making a difference.

How can I help? What can I do?

Come into the classroom and support the children to learn. Teach the deaf children, play games with them! Your work may change depending on what topics the children are studying. Some of the younger children may have activities and play time. Some of the older deaf students may simply benefit from meeting encouraging adults.

The plight of deaf people in Nepal is worse than it is in developed countries. For a long time the education and social systems of Nepal have been unable to support the needs of deaf people. These schools that have been developed to offer the children the ability to form friendships, peer groups, offer them a place to communicate with each other in sign language and will also promote deaf awareness for the parents who often know very little about deaf culture and deaf ways.

It’s also important to remember to honor Nepali Sign Language and Nepali culture. You will be given training and an induction from VIN on how to adapt to the culture and you will also work with the teachers of the school who will assist by providing instructions to you in how to perform the daily activities. You may even learn some Nepali sign language while you’re here. But volunteering for the deaf will always have a positive outcome, no matter how small you think your contribution is.

What qualifications do I need?

For this project we don’t require any specific qualifications. To work with these amazing children one needs experience, confidence, respect and patience. Of course if you have a teaching degree, or are qualified in sign language this would be a definite advantage and make your experience more comfortable. You must be willing to try to learn some Nepali Sign Language and be open for new experiences that will be challenging. Patience is a must!

Perhaps you’re Deaf yourself and are interested in being a deaf volunteer: it would be a wonderful role modeling opportunity for the children. How wonderful for them to see a happy, healthy Deaf adult who is “the same” as them!!

Where will I live? What will I do?

You will live with a traditional Nepali host family. This is a wonderful way for you to learn immersion and culture first hand. Something that other travellers and trekkers don’t get to experience! The host family won’t be deaf but they can show you a lot about Nepali culture. They will also provide you with delicious food: hot and tasty meals three times a day and also plenty of drinking water. You will live with them as part of the family. During the day you will go to the Deaf School and support the teachers and the deaf children. In the evenings you will return home to your host family for dinner and relaxing. You will work week days and have Saturdays and Sundays as free time. During this free time you might spend the day with the family at home, or head into Thamel district in Kathmandu for shopping, restaurants, cafes or go out sightseeing to any of the very beautiful temples and mountains that Nepal has to offer. We can help to organize your weekend trips for you as well. Often the volunteers from other projects in VIN will meet up on Fridays for a meal or a drink together. One of the extra amazing aspects of doing volunteer work is meeting other open minded, altruistic travelers like yourself from all around the world. Often our volunteers will form bonds and make life long friends. Sharing these times with other world travelers and also with local Nepali people is such an intense and wonderful experience that you will never forget it. The benefit for you is the opportunity, the memories, the journey. The benefit you create is the difference you will have made in people’s lives. You will form part of a bigger picture, part of the process in slowing making the world a better place. Sharing your skills, your passion, your happiness and your time with the children of Nepal who really really need this support, who need people to know that even though they are deaf – that they can do anything!

What will VIN offer me?

Here at VIN we will look after you! We provide 24 hour on-call staff, via phone call or SMS. We have a doctor in our team, we have our own VIN car. We will pick you up from the airport (or wherever you will be should you come for a holiday in Nepal first), and introduce you to your host family. We will give you an induction booklet: this includes information on how to travel around safely and also includes some cultural tips. We will also take you on a small sight seeing trip around Kathmandu to visit temples and stupas. If you wish to go on other short trips while you’re here after being a deaf volunteer then talk to us and we can organise your travel for you. There are many beautiful places to visit such as Chitwan the national park or Pokhara the beautiful city by the lake. In Pokhara there are also shops that have deaf staff.

Your fees to volunteer cover the costs of your accommodation with your Nepali family, your meals, transport, 24 hour support and of course any left over fees go straight into our projects in the villages to give all children and women a chance at equality and empowerment in Nepal. You can see more of our good work and our achievements on this website too. Contact us for more information.

Remember that life in Nepal is not the same as it may be in your home country. There will be challenges, daily power outages, you may not get hot water for showering, you cannot drink the tap water, the food may be different to what you are used to, the language barriers can cause struggles and sometimes the Government will call road strikes and there will be no buses or means of travel other than walking. But this is how Nepali people live on a daily basis. For you, the experience will be temporary, but humbling. Immersion and empathy will teach you many things about yourself and about life. And it is all part of the experience. You may like to come alone or come with friends to share the experience. At VIN we can accommodate your needs.

So if you’ve been dreaming of doing volunteer work, but you weren’t sure if you had the right skills – but since having read this now have a burning excitement in your tummy: then it’s likely you do! So come visit us in Nepal, one of the most beautiful countries in the world and also the best place for you to experience a truly memorable, challenging, life-changing event. What better way to spend your holiday time than by helping to improve the lives of Deaf people in a country that needs your support!! Nepal welcomes you. Namaste.

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Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN)

Nayabazaar Khusibu, Kathmandu

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