Introduction / History
With the founding of the first deaf school in 1967 the Dominican deaf community started to become cohesive. There are now about 30 deaf schools across the country. Therefore there are more opportunities for deaf Dominicans to socialize with each other. They usually spend more time with other deaf Dominicans than with their respective hearing families. Most deaf Dominicans are said to live along the middle of the country from the capital to Puerto Plata. The capital, Santo Domingo is the major hub for deaf activity in the Dominican Republic. There are two National Deaf Associations in Santo Domingo where many deaf Dominicans from across the country come to socialize and support the Dominican deaf community.
The majority of deaf Dominicans are in search of a way to be successfully independent in their country. Many know about the deaf services that are offered in the USA and they hope for similar deaf services in the Dominican Republic. Often deaf Dominicans are oppressed by the hearing community around them and are in dire need of interpreters who can make their concerns and desires known. As of 2008 they do not have access to adequate education which is a result in their high unemployment rate.
Since the 1980's there has been a lot of outreach among the Dominican deaf community by American missionaries. Some deaf Dominicans have taken on pastoral roles in their churches and have the opportunity to travel to nearby countries to evangelize to other deaf communities. Since the Spanish literacy rate is low among deaf Dominicans they have to rely on others who are fluent in both Dominican Sign Language and Spanish in order to understand God's Word.
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