Most of the hearing impaired people living in Siirt were using different sign languages developed in their families at home over the years instead of the Turkish sign language with a certain system. For this reason, they could communicate only with their family members. Because they cannot communicate with other deaf people, they could not socialize. As a result of living such an isolated life, they could not make any economic contribution to their families in this low-income region.
Teaching of Turkish sign language to hearing-impaired people.
To ensure hearing-impaired people's participation in public as social and active citizens.
Project's Details and Results
Gelder took part as a partner in this project carried out by Siirt Hearing and Impaired Association in 2009 with the support of Ministry of Development Social Support Program. Our society was responsible with the preparation of the training classes and sharing of its experience on project management. Within the scope of the project, 30 hearing-impaired people were trained on Turkish sign language. Additionally, 20 young girls with no disabilities were also trained to increase their chances of finding a job in the private sector communications departments in the future, as well as to socialize hearing-impaired people. Courses were held in Siirt Multipurpose Community Center for 3 months.
Most of the hearing impairments that attended the courses were coming from low-income families. A daily allowance was paid to them in order to provide their continuous attendance to the courses without experiencing any difficulties. While some trainees attended the courses only to get the tuition, we saw that they also listened the lessons and learned Turkish sign language. It was observed that it was more difficult for the old people to learn the Turkish sign language and many did not leave the sign language that they had been using for years in their families. Nevertheless, we believe that even if they had difficulty in learning, they could not be rejected.
The problems of hearing impaired people are the same in many parts of Turkey. For this reason, we believe that projects similar to Gelder's in Siirt should be carried out in many parts of the country. The first step should be to get in connect with local associations established for hearing-impaired people. Even though the efficiency of our project was reduced due to the difficulties in learning of elderly, the most important thing for us was to provide equal rights for everybody, not the productivity of the project.