Since October 2022, Medair Jordan has delivered 40 sessions in basic sign language, for 54 children with hearing impairment and their caregivers in Amman, Irbid, and AL-Mafraq. The sessions targeted refugees and vulnerable Jordanians to improve communications between children and their caregivers.
Rami is a Syrian refugee living in Jordan. Eight years ago, a bomb fell next to Rami’s home in Syria when Rami was less than one year old, and this was the last sound he heard. Rami’s mother, Khadija hoped that he would be able to hear and talk when he grew older.
Rami’s family came to Jordan as refugees, and they live in a small house in Amman. Rami’s condition remained the same; he is unable to talk or hear because of the explosion’s impact on his hearing ability. These communication barriers caused Rami to feel that he is different and that no one understands him, and Khadija said this makes him violent, angry, and introverted.
She explained, “For me as his mother, I can understand him from his eyes, even though dealing with him is hard. However, other people can’t understand him, and I worry about him, that’s why I don’t allow him to leave home”. Khadija said.
Communication is important for everyone, but some people do not have full hearing or vision due to unfortunate circumstances. In Jordan, there are approximately 19,000 deaf Jordanians, and 12,000 deaf refugees, of which 42% do not use sign language. Medair sheds light on this forgotten right and reduces the communication gap between caregivers and their own children through sign language sessions. The focus of the sessions is to empower participants and improve communication between children and their caregivers.
In the first sign language session, Rami sat alone next to his father, as he was afraid; he saw many children who were the same as him, which changed his perspective. The trainer started with basic words for everyday life followed by topics covering the alphabet, numbers, colors, food, culture, and family. Each session was delivered by a deaf trainer and a non-deaf trainer to teach the children and their caregivers.
Khadija shared how “After the first session, Rami hugged me, he was so happy. He was laughing and expressing that he met many children who also can’t hear or talk, and to him that meant he was not alone. That’s why he was so excited”. Khadija said.
Rami was keen to go to each session, and each time he returned from a session he applied what he learned. As a result, he can communicate better with his father, he feels happy, and his mood changed, his mother said.
Rami hopes to go to school like other children, but because of the communication barriers he experiences, he can’t communicate with his peers. Every morning he stands and looks out of the window at the children and wishes that he can be one of them. Medair’s sign language sessions enabled Rami to communicate better with his parents and come closer to his dream of going to school one day.
Rami’s father added: “We all can learn sign language. I hope everyone learns sign language, so Rami and all deaf people can connect and talk with others; they shouldn’t feel they are different.”
Mr. Osama, the session trainer, explains the impact of the programme: “It was clear how the relationship between the caregiver and their children improved from the first to the last session. Medair made their life easier, they can understand each other, they can make friends, and they can find their future. I would like to thank Medair for this chance, and for focusing your effort to support deaf people. They need this support to get a better life.” Mr Osama said.
Medair’s Social Protection programme and sign language sessions are supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and private donors.
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken to reflect the official opinion of any other organization.