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Holy Land Institute for the Deaf - Jordan


[The camera is moving through the schoolyard of the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf (HLID) in Jordan, showing the pupils walking around, playing, smiling and waving into the camera.This shot ends with the logo of 'Deaf News Jordan', consisting of a globe with the Mediterranean Sea, talking hands, an ear, the Jordanian flag and the letters 'DNJ']

Nadja, news presenter of Deaf News Jordan, HLID's own 'TV channel':
Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Nadja. Welcome to Deaf News Jordan!

Here are today's topics:
1) General news from the institute;
2) An introduction to our deaf-blind work;
3) The Christmas party;
4) Portraits of deaf-blind children.
Let's begin with general news.

[Schoolyard, trees and surrounding shrubbery at HLID, covered with snow, the children are playing and running around excitedly]

In January, we had snow for 2 days and the children were absolutely thrilled.
They made snowmen and had snowball fights together.

[Pricess Muna can be seen talking to Brother Andrew, director of HLID, the inscription of the building is unveiled to great applause and ululation from the female audience. Then Princess Muna cuts the ribbon to the entrance of the building]

On 8 June, Princess Muna al-Hussein, the mother of King Abdallah, came to our school to open our newest building.

[The interior of the building: physical exercise room with mats and sports equipment and a spacious terrace filled with many toys, such as climbing frame, swings and a tricycle]

In the new building, there is a sports room and an open-air deck for the deaf-blind children.

[The old section before and after renovation]

The old section of the new building, where the audiology department used to be, has been transformed into a floor for the deaf-blind unit.

The new building including all of its furnishings was completetly paid for by USAID, the Mennonite Central Committee, and Jordan's King Abdallah.

[HLID-trained craftspeople can be seen fixing handrails and carrying armrests. Details of the building are shown, the impressive wooden doors, intricate trellis, balcony railings and a large number of windows]

All of the painting, woodwork and metal work in the building was made here at the institute, providing our vocational training department with a much appreciated source of business.

[The inscription of the building in detail, it says 'Allah kariem' meaning 'God provides'.]

We thank God for all of these gifts.

[For the next topic of general news, Asma and Tamara are interviewed via sign language by a fellow student in the physical education room]

"Now we have some news from Tamara and Asma.
 Tamara, where are you going after the summer?"

"We are going to Perkins institute in Boston where Asma will
 study deaf-blind education and I help her by interpreting."

"Asma, is it going to be hard to say goodbye?" " Yes,
 because I won't see everyone here for a long time."

"And you like the deaf people here?" "Yes, especially the deaf-blind."

"So, what do you want to get out of your time in the USA?" "I want to learn about
 deaf-blind education, that I can teach the other employees at our unit. We really need expertise and training."

[Ahmed is presenting his new colleague at the auto repair workshop, Ahmed and Joe are both talking in sign language and later Joe can be seen discussing with Joshua, the head of department]

"Hello, my name is Ahmed. And this is a new volunteer from Switzerland. His name is Joe
 and he helps Joshua, the head of our vocational training department in the car mechanic workshop."

"Joe, how do you like it here?" " I like it very much. I'm very happy here."

[Panoramic view of the Jordan valley, close-up on the building from outside. Inside we see about 10 children with an intellectual disability of various ages from toddler to primary school age having a meal and and ]

In the village of Krimeh, in the Jordan valley, the institute has launched a new centre for children with disabilities.

[About 10 children with an intellectual disability of various ages from toddler to primary school age are having lunch and are playfully solving some assigned tasks]
Here intellectually disabled children receive care from Jordanian volunteers.

[Haddiah, a young deaf teacher is explaining a sign and showing its meaning in writing to a teenage deaf student]

Haddiah, a former HLID student, teaches deaf children.

[Line is sitting on a female volunteer's lap obviously enjoying herself]

This is a deaf-blind girl named Line. She is 6 years old, and Jordanian volunteers look after her with much love.

[Cut to another part of general news. Two student reporters dressed in Bedouin garb are sitting in a 'Bedouin tent' and having a screen in screen presentation of the excursion to Petra]

Jordan is a very special country with very special sights to see.

A while ago we received a large group of guests from Switzerland who came to
 enjoy our beautiful country and to connect with the deaf children at our school.

[The group can be seen visiting the stone buildings of Petra and riding on camels through the desert]

See for yourself: They made a trip around the whole country and everyone was very impressed.

[Members of the group can be seen helping at tailoring, cutting trees, gathering fruit and discussing with the students]

At the school, they helped with various projects and spent time with the deaf students.

[Back to the 'Bedouin tent']

The guests truly loved travelling in Jordan and connecting with the students here.
 If you want to come and visit us, you are always welcome.

[TV presenter Nadja is introducing the next topic, deaf-blind students]

Many are interested in the lives of people who cannot see or hear. How do they learn? Here at the HLID, we have 10 students in our deaf-blind unit.

Now you can get a better idea of how they live and learn.

[The deaf-blind children in the sports room laid out with mats. They sit without communicating and some of them are rocking back and forth]

Unable to see or hear, these deaf-blind children dwell in their own black world.

[Deaf-blind child is descending stairs on the hand of an older girl and swinging on the see-saw pushed by the same girl]

[Female teacher for the deaf-blind is showing a toddler and a young girl how to use a drinking cup and also the sign for this object and activity]
When children first come to our unit, they focus on basic activities like eating and playing.

Later they will follow a daily schedule, which will enable them to learn how to communicate.

Each physical object in their schedule signifies a certain activity and for each activity there is a corresponding sign.

[The deaf-blind girl is throwing away the activity card for the day]

After completing an activity, children feel the object in their schedule once more, perform its sign and then discard it for the day.

[A teenage deaf-blind student is communicating with his teacher in sign language and using cards with abstract symbols. The older students use symbols on cards instead of the actual objects]

[Cut to an overview showing evolving levels of abstraction in 6 steps from real drinking cup over cardboard cut-outs depicting a cup to a braille sign saying teacup]

Over time these symbols will become increasingly advanced and abstract until the students are using only Braille.

[Teachers are showing 3 different deaf-blind students how to hold a bottle, how to grab a pen out of a small basket and how to plug a peg into a hole]

As teachers guide students through various activities, the students are able to learn many different things.

[Older deaf-blind students are shown always accompanied by teachers or elder deaf students]

Some of their activities are very practical, such as getting water, cooking, making pottery, weaving and exercising.

[Young man is offering a drinking cup to a deaf-blind boy taking the boy's hand bringing it to his mouth. The boy repeats the sign and is taking hold of the cup]

Always these activities are linked with signs.

[Deaf students are assisting deaf-blind students while eating, doing homework, jumping on a trampoline, assisting at the swing, accompanying them walking on the school grounds and driving together with a scooter through the physical exercise room]

In addition to the official teachers, older deaf students work with the deaf-blind as part of their vocational training. It's beautiful to see how the deaf learn to take care of others and at the same time have lots of fun.

[Both can be seen doing stretching exercises in the physical therapy room]

Two of our deaf-blind students, Katha and Mohammed, receive physical therapy.

[Deaf-blind women is walking through the schoolyard using a white cane. While she can orient herself quite easily along the building wall using her stick, she looses orientation trying to cross the yard feeling for the flagstone path]

It is very important for the deaf-blind to use their walking sticks, but it is not as easy as it may seem.

[Close up of door sign for school entrance, symbolised by a ruler, as well as a Braille inscription and an English inscription (for the benefit of international visitors)]

All around the school, different symbols for the deaf-blind are posted, especially at the doors.

[Various signs at doors are displayed: a clew of yarn for the weaving room, a cross for the entrance to the chapel, a puzzle peace of foam material for the sports room, a screw wrench for the car repair shop and a piece of wood for the carpenter's workshop. All keys to the different rooms are having a tag with a symbol attached]

These symbols include an identifying word in Arabic, and in Braille.

[While interacting with their teachers, the children loose concentration quite often. It becomes obvious that a seemingly 'simple' task is quite difficult to solve for them using solely the sense of touch]

Sometimes the deaf-blind children don't understand, why they must learn these things. Most of the time they don't want to leave their black world.

[Teacher and student - after some failed attempts - finally succeed]

That's why even the simplest of activities can try a teacher's patience. For instance the teacher and this student spent 11 minutes assembling this 4-piece tower.

During these 11 minutes again and again sign language is used. Then, once the two have finished the tower and felt it together, they sign "building tower finished".

[Mohammed is having a conversation with his teacher in sign language and writing on his Braille machine]

Mohammed is the most advanced of the deaf-blind students. He knows many words in Arabic because he reads and writes well in Braille.

[Teachers are preparing various training tools like a clock with Braille digits, Braille texts, a map of Jordan, ground view of the institute, class schedule of the school]

In order to sustain his knowledge and to continue learning, he need to be given new resources regularly. Maps, calenders, lists and so on.

[Mohammed and his teacher can be seen signing question and answer which he afterwards types on his braille machine]

Here Mohammed's teacher asks him: "What is eye in Braille?" And he types it out. He is able to have real conversations.

[Mohammed can be seen laying the table for a joint meal with other students, then he and Hamsa are having the following conversation in tactile sign language]

Here Hamsa asks him: "Do you want exercise?" "No, I'd prefer to listen to music." "But music is bad."
 "No, music is good and I like it." "Why do you like music?" "Because music is nice."

[The deaf-blind children can be seen really enjoying the interaction with teachers and fellow students]

Everyday we labour patiently with the deaf-blind, so that eventually they can be happy.

['News presenter' Nadja is introducing the next topic in sign language]

Every year at the Christmas party, our older students direct and participate in a theatre production all by themselves. This year it was quite good.

[A scene from the Old Testament: Abraham is preparing to sacrifice his son Isaac and just raising his knife when an angel arrives and stops him]

Stop! Abraham, Abraham! Drop the knife. Now I know that you are obedient to God, as you were ready to give your son as a sacrifice.

[Abraham drops the knife and embraces his son to much applause from the audience]

[Afterwards the students show a couple in front of a television screen. The TV screen is just a cardboard frame in which the actors perform the broadcast 'film clip'. The husband is changing channels very quickly, because he seems to be annoyed with what is being shown: first an armed and disguised man being shot, than a politician giving a speech. When he happens upon a love scene and changes channels yet again, his wife in return is very unhappy about this. The 'on-screen' actors are taking part in their heated discussion and everybody is talking in sign language - of course. This performance is greeted with much laughter and applause]

[Back to Nadja, the presenter]

We've asked a few of the older deaf students who work with our deaf-blind children on a regular basis to introduce the students that they care for here at the Holy Land Institute of the Deaf.

[Hadil can be seen exercising and having fun on the balance beam]

Hello, this is Hadil. She is 10 years old. When she first came to the school, she was very aggressive and would scratch herself. But in time her situation has improved. Excercising is her favourite activity.

[Katha walking with her student trainer through the school yard. She can walk now but still has difficulties holding her balance]

When Katha first came here, she couldn't even sit up straight. She could only lie down, her body totally limp. for a long time she was in a wheelchair, but she has been slowly building up strength to walk and now she is finally able to do it.

[Issah is coping quite well at eating independently]

This is Issah. He is 14 years old and he first came to the deaf-blind unit in 2003. He is hearing, but blind and has a communication disorder.

[Hanadi can be seen preparing Arabic coffee and adding lots of sugar]

This is Hanadi.She was deaf as a child and she became blind as well when she was 20 years old. before she came to the
 HLID she had remained at home for a very long time. Here she is much happier and loves to communicate with the deaf.

[Hanadi and her assisting deaf student are drinking coffee and discuss using tactile sign language]

"Four spoons full of sugar were too much. Two would have been better." "OK, next time we'll do two."

[Nadja, the 'TV presenter' is saying thankyou and goodbye in sign language]

We'd like to thank you very much for your support wether through financial donations or sponsorship gifts.
We greatly appreciat all of these blessings. May God bless you. And thank you very much!

Opened in 1964, the Holy Land Institute is a large school and resource centre for deaf, hearing impaired and deafblind children and adults. The school provides kindergarten, primary and secondary school education as well as vocational training.

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Programme: The Holy Land Institute for the Deaf

Offers Rehabilitation, Education, Vocational Training and other Services for people with disabilities


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