"Signs of Love 爱的手语"-Reaching Rural Deaf Communities关爱农村聋人社区
If my hands can make a difference, If my hands can make a friend, Let my fingers do the talking, And help make the silence end.
This is a poem by Stefanie Drown. This poem is about using your hands to talk. The poem says that hands can make a difference. It says hands can help people become friends. It says that people can use their hands to end silence. What does it mean?
这首诗是一位Stefanie Drown 女士所写的,说到了用你的手来说话。双手能够带出影响，双手能帮助人们成为朋友；人们可以通过用双手来划破寂静。这说的到底是什么意思呢？
Stephanie is talking about Sign Language. Sign Language is a method of communicating. A person using Sign Language does not need to speak or hear. Instead, Sign Language uses particular body movements to send a message. For example, a person using Sign Language moves his hand in a particular way. This movement, or sign, has a special meaning. It represents a word or an idea. Many people around the world use Sign Language to communicate.
When a baby is born his parents care for him. As he grows older his parents teach him their language. They teach him how to communicate with other people. In time, a healthy child learns how to communicate well. He tells others what he thinks. He uses his language to tell others what he needs and wants. He shares stories. He forms friendships. A person who can communicate well with others becomes part of a community.
But what about babies who cannot learn to speak? What about babies who cannot hear? Learning a language often depends a lot on what a person is able to hear. The World Federation for the Deaf estimates that there are 70,000,000 deaf people all around the world. They live in every country and city. But most of these deaf people live in developing countries.
Authorities in developing countries often do not know how to help these deaf people. They do not know what deaf people need or desire. Even people in their own communities often do not know how to treat deaf people. Many of these developing countries are poor. They do not have the resources to deal with the needs and desires of deaf people. This means that many times, deaf people are alone. They feel as if governments, authorities, friends, and even family have left them. Many families do not even know how to communicate with their own deaf family members. This may make the deaf person feel lonely. She may feel as if she has no worth. She has no way to communicate. She may feel as if she has no hope. Many organizations are working to fix these problems. One of these organizations is called "Signs of Love."
Robin Harter began Signs of Love. Her interest in Sign Language started when she was at university in 1990. The University required Robin to take a foreign language class. So, she attended a class about Sign Language. As she learned the language, she learned that she enjoyed signing very much. She also learned a lot about Deaf Culture. She began to work with the deaf in many different areas and groups. She worked with deaf people at her church. And she also interpreted, or translated, speech into Sign Language for deaf people.
“爱的手语”创办人Robin Harter 1990年代在读大学期间就对手语产生兴趣。她就读的大学要求她要学一个外语。她于是修读手语课。学习期间，她深深爱上手语，同时也对聋哑人的文化有了进一步的了解。她在不同地方和不同团体中，和聋人一起工作。在她参加的基督教会里，她和聋人一起同工服事，也为这群人做口译和文字的翻译。
In 1994, Robin went to Mexico with a group to teach people about Jesus Christ. In Mexico she saw that many deaf people there could not communicate - through any language. She wanted to do something, but she did not yet know what she could do.
1994年，Robin 和一群人到墨西哥去教导有关耶稣基督的福音。在那儿，她看到许多聋 人不能用任何语言与人沟通。她很想做些什么事，但不知道自己当时能做什么。
The next year, in 1995, Robin went to work in Honduras. She was only supposed to be there for a short time. But again, she saw a great need. She felt God was calling her to do something. Deaf people in developing countries were not receiving help. No one was working with deaf people living in country areas. These people had no hope. They could not communicate with anyone. Robin knew she could do something to help these people. So, in 1999, she started a group called Signs of Love. She moved to Honduras and set up a group there.
第二年，1995年，Robin 到洪都拉斯去工作。原本她只应停留短期间，但在那儿时，她同样看到一个很大的需要。她觉得神呼召她要做些事情。聋人在发展中国家里没有得到什么帮助，没有人服务在乡村里的聋人。他们没有希望，也不能与人沟通。Robin 知道她能够帮助这群人。因此，在1999年，她开办了这个团体，叫做“爱的手语”她搬到洪都拉斯，在那里开办这个事工。
Signs of Love says that many deaf people in many developing countries cannot read or write. They may only be able to communicate with a few people. Many cannot even write their own name. And most of them only know about 25 words. People in situations like this often have no hope of going to school, driving a car, voting, or even marrying who they want to marry! They are often physically or sexually abused. They are victims because they cannot communicate or tell authorities about the attack.
Signs of Love brings language to deaf people living in places like this. They teach Sign Language classes to deaf people. They train people who are hearing and people who are deaf. The people that Signs of Love train can teach other people Sign Language.
Sometimes communities are afraid of deaf people. So, Signs of Love also works with the community around deaf people. They teach the community what it means to be deaf. They teach the community that deaf people have value. They hope the community will accept deaf people and show them love and respect.
Signs of Love does all this work for one reason. They believe it is important to share the love of Jesus. They believe that part of showing love is being able to communicate. Signs of Love SHOWS people what the love of Jesus means. Signs of Love began in Honduras. But today, they work in many places around the world. And they hope to expand to even more places.
Communication is important for all people. Sometimes we can be afraid of people who are different than we are. Or it seems too difficult to learn a new way to communicate with them. But it is still important to try and communicate. You could even learn Sign Language to help communicate with deaf people in need in YOUR community. We close this program with the same poem we read in the beginning. As it is read, think about what YOUR hands can do.
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