From 2009 we built Maison des Sourds (House for the Deaf) in different phases. It is now a busy training center and head office for all Silent Work projects for deaf people in West Africa, and it supports interests of deaf people in this greater region in general.
Maison des Sourds offers deaf young people with or without schooling a three-year vocational training. Two days a week, they are trained in sign language, literacy and ICT skills. For three days they follow a practical training of their choice, such as in woodworking, applied art, tailoring, furniture making, bread and pastry. There is also an exhibition space where they can sell the products.
Our new ‘Center commercial des Sourds’ project, with five small shops combined with five workplaces for deaf young people behind, also falls under Maison des Sourds.
We are also proud of the visualization center, including the deaf graphic designer who produces teaching materials.
To promote the interests and integration of the Deaf, there are sign language courses for special groups such as police, doctors, parents. When (social) problems arise, people at Maison des Sourds mediate between deaf adults or parents and, for example, government or police. They can also provide interpreters during medical procedures.
Outside, an open-air mosque has been built, so that the deaf can also practice their prayers visibly (in sign language) with their own deaf imam. Hearing neighbours join in, which is great for integration!