Introduction / History
There are 10 to 15 million Deaf in India. The estimates vary according to how "deaf" is defined. There are 478 schools receiving government funding, and approximately 372 private schools for the Indian Deaf are scattered throughout India. The Indian Deaf population is not well connected or informed, and many deaf people do not even know the names of all the schools or clubs for the Deaf within their own city.
Most schools use the oral approach in the classroom. It is a rare school that uses signs in the classroom. Rural Indian Deaf often do not receive an education due to being needed as laborers and the distance that must be traveled to go to school.
Most of the major organizations, gatherings ("clubs"), and schools for the Deaf are in the larger urban areas. Many Indian Deaf migrate to the cities for education and jobs. Jobs are likely to be either unskilled or a manual trade, if skilled. Male Indian Deaf are more likely to go to school and to stay in school longer than females. There are about sixty evangelistic Deaf churches in India, but they are mostly in the larger cities. The Deaf would benefit from a Bible training program that is geared to their needs. One organization has started such a training program in India.
Likewise, there is a need for qualified interpreters in medical fields, businesses and offices. Pastors and lay leaders who are qualified to work with the Deaf are often called to act as interpreters. That can be very time consuming and tiring for them.
CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults) serve as interpreters in most parts of the world. In India, however, CODA's usually are unqualified or unwilling to be interpreters. This is due to extended family households. Deaf parents tend to give hearing children to their grandparents to raise. Many CODA's do not admit to having deaf parents, and they do not take part in the Indian Deaf Community as adults.
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