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Papua New Guinea

Photo: Sign language class in Papua New Guinea. Credit: Light for the World

Giving a sign

Papua New Guinea has one of the world’s highest rates of hearing problems: 3.6 million people have hearing problems, often caused by malaria, middle ear inflammation or other untreated diseases. Many villages are hard to reach and access to proper health care is a challenge. In addition to Community Based Rehabilitation, Inclusive Education programmes and eye health programmes we have supported the development of a sign language that can be used throughout the country.

Following the huge success of governmental recognition of the sign language as a national language in 2015, we are now supporting the training of teachers and sign language interpreters. In 2016, 28,565 people benefitted from our work, 15,821 of them hard of hearing or deaf.

Featured project: National Hearing Programme in PNG

34% of the population of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is under 15 years old. Child deafness is often referred to as the “hidden disability”, often caused by untreated malaria or meningitis and non-existing maternal health services. Traditional belief systems and lack of awareness add to the barriers for accessing existing services.

The overall goal of the project is to empower deaf and hard of hearing persons to fully and equally participate in the social, cultural, political and economic life of PNG.

Callan Services has been involved in this field for many years and has developed courses in special needs education for teachers including courses on PNG Sign Language, CBR, physiotherapy, identification of persons with disabilities, and community participation.

The project builds on previous work supported by LIGHT FOR THE WORLD and the European Commission.

25% of children in PNG have hearing problems, 1/3 of them have a form of hearing loss. Child deafness is the leading cause of school drop-out and exclusion in PNG.

Project Activities

  • Further developing and formalising PNG Sign Language
  • Strengthening CBR services
  • Supporting teachers and schools to deliver Inclusive Education
  • Advocating for increased support for inclusion from governmental agencies

Partner: Callan Services
Time frame: 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2020
Budget: € 150,000 annually

Targets

  • Sign Language training for over 7.000 children and adults
  • Development and distribution of the new PNG sign language dictionary
  • Screening of 72.000 children and family members
  • Training on Disability and Human Rights for the Deaf Community
  • Training of teachers and community workers on early childhood development and care for deaf and hard of hearing children

>> Download the project brief (pdf/a) here

Papua New Guinea
Map: Papua New Guinea
  • Area: 462,859 km2
  • Population: 7.3 million
  • Expectancy of life: 67.2 years
  • Ophthalmologists: 6
  • Ophthalmologists supported by us: 1
Benjamin Bach. Credit: Gregor Kuntscher

Your contact person for our Inclusive Education programmes and our work in Papua New Guinea: Benjamin Bach

+43 1 810 13 00 - 75
b.bach [at] light-for-the-world.org

Where we work