People living with hearing impairments and living in poverty are often seen but not heard

Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest countries and its people face many challenges. For those living with a disability, these challenges are even greater.

Most of the people who live with a hearing impairment in Cambodia have never had an opportunity to learn sign language. Unable to effectively communicate, they are undervalued, disempowered and live in isolation.

Give generously this tax time to confront the injustice that tells those living with a disability they cannot reach their full potential.



The Deaf Development Programme is creating an environment where every person can thrive

Caritas Australia has partnered with the Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme (DDP) to help empower people living with a hearing impairment through education, skills and community development.

By providing sign language classes, job training and interpreting services, participants are able to build a bridge to the outside world and access opportunities once out of reach.

Dedicated to seeking out those with the greatest need, this initiative visits Cambodia’s poorest communities to identify people living with deafness and invite them to join the program.

Your donation can help give people living with deafness the chance to develop vital skills, connect with the world around them and to fulfil their potential.



Barber skills demonstration class run by the <br />
Deaf Development Programme
Students in a sign language class run by the
Deaf Development Programme

Rattanak's world opened up with opportunities 

Rattanak grew up in south-eastern Cambodia. He was just a child when he contracted polio and became deaf. From then on, he was excluded from school and social activities. He was unable to communicate with his family and friends. 

As Rattanak told us: “I felt rejected by others. I was poor, I had no money. I had a disability, I was deaf.”

When his sister discovered the Deaf Development Programme in Cambodia, it was the opportunity he had longed for. “They taught me the alphabet and slowly I was able to develop my skills so that I could meet and communicate with other deaf people. I was very happy about that.”

Rattanak from Cambodia walking to his barber shop
Rattanak at his barber shop

Through the program, over a period of two years, Rattanak studied Cambodian sign language, Khmer writing, maths and the social sciences. He graduated from the program in 2010 and the following year returned to train as a barber.

Since then Rattanak’s life has continued to improve. He now has lots of friends, a wife and baby, and runs his own successful barber shop, which he set up in his parents’ house with the help of the program.

As Rattanak built his communication skills his world opened up. And it was a world filled with opportunities. His story represents thousands of people around the world who are turning the skills they learn with the aid of Caritas partners, into a pathway out of poverty.

Donate today to ensure your impact goes further to reach the world's most vulnerable people.



You can help put the future in their hands

No matter what our differences, we all belong to the one human family and we all deserve equal opportunities, equal respect and equal rights.

Since the Deaf Development Programme began, hundreds of deaf graduates have learned to read, write and sign in Khmer. They have enrolled in job training, including barbering, sewing and metal work. Many of the men have become skilled barbers, some even opening their own barber shops that will earn them an income for life.

The success of Rattanak and many other graduates from the program shows that when given the chance, all young boys and girls can create change in their lives, regardless of whether or not they are living with a disability.

Your generous gift this tax time will help ensure others like Rattanak will receive the opportunity to take greater control of their lives and overcome the barrier that limits them.



Other ways to donate

By phone
1800 024 413
Postal donations
GPO Box 9830
in your capital city
By mail or fax:
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