#DEAFinition: Getting to Know the Deaf Community in the Philippines

Article by Katrina Tan / Photography by Phyl Pangilinan

Oftentimes, we forget how blessed we are. We forget how even the littlest of things can make an incredible impact on our lives. Things as simple as waking up in the morning and being able to see, or walking down the street and being able to hear people bustling about. We are often so caught up in our own lives that we forget that not everyone is as lucky as we are.

These disadvantages, however, should not be looked down upon. These communities of people who don’t necessarily conform to society’s norm are no better nor worse of a person than any of us are. They are people.

One such community is the Deaf community.  

It is a community with their own inner workings, cultures, histories, and individuals that need to be respected.

Out of the four mentioned things, the last is sometimes the hardest to remember with regards to respect. It is common to see bullying directed towards someone that doesn’t fit with other people’s perceptions of how that person should be.

November 11-19, 2017 saw Project Inclusion, Unilab Foundation, and Multilingual’s #DEAFinition: Deaf Awareness Week 2017.

4 days (November 11, 14-15, 19)  wherein participants learned about the Do’s and Don’ts when speaking to someone who is Deaf and how to treat them.

The speakers during the session discussed this, of course, and reminded everyone present that the members of this community should not be treated in such a way that they are viewed as less of a person. Like us, they deserve respect, equality, and inclusion, above other mentioned needs. (As seen in the photos above.)

Aside from a few insights, participants of the sessions were also taught the alphabet, as well as several beginner-level phrases and sentences.

The session lasted barely 3 hours, but it was certainly an eye-opening experience. It’s sessions like these that matter; that highlight the importance of patience and taking time to understand one another, despite our differences. It’s a small action that can snowball into something great if only we’d give it the chance to, and yet another example of how equality should be seen in every community.

The knowledge of the Deaf community in our country is quite limited and possibly scary as it’s a whole other language and culture to think about; however, this should not stop anyone from seeking to understand more. After all, as Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

Interested in learning sign language? Join the Multilingual Team on January 13, 2018, for a class!

Take a look at another article of ours that talks about PWDs and find out how you can give them a hand!


Related Stories