Introduction / History
Austria has seven schools for the Deaf and numerous Deaf clubs. The national language of the country is German but many Deaf have trouble reading at more than a 3rd or 4th grade level due to a low vocabulary in German, which is a second language for them. Schooling is often dependent on good oral lip-reading skills and many Deaf struggle with understanding German and have a lack of vocational training, so can only find work in menial jobs. An additional difficulty is that Austrian Sign Language is not officially recognized nor is it recognized as a main means of communication.
The country has a strong Roman Catholic influence, but many Deaf seem to be somewhat apathetic about religious things. This means that many Deaf and hearing in Austria are repulsed by institutionalized religion. The greatest need is for Deaf to understand God's word and become believers who are grounded in their faith. There are only a handful of full time workers in the entire country working with the Deaf. The New Testament is in the process of being translated by a woman from Great Britain who has worked with the Deaf for many years but has a full time job working with the Deaf in an evangelical church. The process is very slow as there are only a few born again Deaf Christians in the whole country and these Deaf have families and jobs and it is very hard to find time to work on the Bible Translation.
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