Introduction / History
The deaf population in Romania is between twenty and thirty thousand people, according to the European Union of the Deaf. Major population centers include Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca. Association meetings, sports events, and other social gatherings are some of the reasons that deaf people come together regularly.
Limbajul Semenelor Romanesc (Romanian Sign Language, abbreviated LSR) is used in their homes, at work and in places of worship. There is some variation in LSR in the following three regions: Transylvania (northwest), Moldavia (northeast), and Wallachia (south).
Deaf education is highly valued by the deaf community; however, there is very little opportunity for this to occur. Teachers in deaf schools are often hearing and teach in a combination of Romanian Sign Language and spoken or written Romanian. Most deaf children; however, are integrated into the hearing school system with a limited number of deaf students in one classroom. An increase in professional interpreters is needed.
The Associatia Nationala a Surzilor din Romania, the National Association of the Deaf in Romania (ANSR) is the leading deaf organization in Romania. Their primary purpose is to increase opportunities for deaf people to flourish in their deaf culture through education and as a result see an increase in the quality of life.
A few materials have been produced in LSR such as: dictionaries, school materials, and DVD’s (The Jesus Film). Deaf people in Romania have indicated that the two largest needs for materials are LSR educational materials and an LSR Bible translation.
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