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Thanks to Brother Andrew de Carpentier, deaf children in Jordan have a place of their own to learn. In addition to academic and vocational training, the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf matches up younger children with older mentors to foster a spirit of self-assurance that helps them grow into confident and independent adults. 

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Learn more about the efforts of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).

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Segment 1

TITLE
explore went on a philanthropic fact-finding mission to Jordan to visit a remarkable home for deaf children.
TITLE
Talking Hands
SIGN
The Holy Land Institute for the Deaf
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In a world of silence, how would you communicate? How would you connect?
CHARLES ANNENBERG WEINGARTEN
In Salt, Jordan, we visited the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf, where we met Brother Andrew de Carpentier: a humble man who has dedicated his life to enriching, educating, and enabling the lives of deaf children.
BROTHER ANDREW DE CARPENTIER [Director, Holy Land Institute for the Deaf]
As Helen Keller said, blindness separates you from things, but deafness separates you from people. In the Middle East, the main reason for the prevalence of disability is still intermarriage. We know for example from Jordan that more than 50 percent of marriages are still within the family, within the extended family. And this perpetuates genetic problems if they are there within the family.
BROTHER ANDREW DE CARPENTIER [translating for girl]
I am studying for my exams. Because tomorrow my exams start.
BROTHER ANDREW DE CARPENTIER
These are the formal exams for 10th ... which grade are you in? In 8th grade. This is Vadir. Her name in sign language is Vadir, and she is studying for the 12th grade exams. She hopes next year to continue and go to university, right? Inshallah.
BROTHER ANDREW DE CARPENTIER
The two young ladies we have just now met are sisters. And they are a typical example of the genetic problem that perpetuates itself in the family. If they were to marry within the family, within the tribe, it would be perpetuated. So, for people like them, the advice is: don't marry within that family. Go get new blood, as we say in sign language. We have two full-time staff on 120 children, which is totally impossible if it were not for the senior students. We have a buddy system, so all the older girls -- also upstairs the older boys -- they have a young one to look after. It gives a sense of responsibility to the young people themselves. This responsibility will grow over time so that they will be ready for the outside world. The lack of resources that are available, in a way, compel us to run the place like this, but on the other hand, we have seen enormous intrinsic value because people do learn to take responsibility. And in that sense the deafness, the disadvantage of deafness, has become an advantage in terms of development and learning. And perhaps this is something that the deaf world can contribute to the hearing world around them. So all the students do vocational training from 7th grade until 10th grade. And both boys and girls, I always say, if ... certificates you can't eat. So, if you get stuck in life, you can go back to a trade and work with your hands, then this is gain. So they pick a certain trade; we have seven or eight trades here. And then they take that training, take it with them in life. This is the woodwork. Eighty percent or more of the work goes to the market. And to us as vocational training, as students who learn the skill, to sell the work gives them the dignity of doing real work, and discovering that people appreciate their work, like it, and want to pay for it. We all should have a mission. There is a mission for all of us in this world, and that is to make a contribution. To make it more livable. To learn to respect its message of understanding and reconciliation and love and care and being here together for a purpose, put here by the almighty.
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explore.org
VOICEOVER
Never stop learning.
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With the support of the Annenberg Foundation, explore has made funding possible to: The Holy Land Institute for the Deaf.
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[end credits]