New Language Created by Wycliffe Associates Being Used in Africa’s Public and Private Schools to Teach Deaf Students
July 19, 2023 | Orlando, Florida
(Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization that empowers mother-tongue Bible translators and partners with local churches in the advancement of Bible translation, has developed a new language for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind community, which is now being used in both public and private schools in Africa.
The language, called Symbolic Universal Language, or SUN, is a universal, written, concept-based language that the Deaf and Deaf-Blind, who do not read or sign, can learn SUN regardless of where they live in the world.
One SUN workshop participant named John said, “I can only say thank you SUN, thank you, because you gave me hope when I had lost all concerning learning. I went to a mixed school hearing, and I was almost the only Deaf pupil. I couldn’t learn because little attention was given to me. I left and learnt how to make shoes. Thanks to SUN, I can make short sentences and I feel equal to others.”
In February, 2020, Wycliffe Associates held a dedication at its Orlando, Florida, headquarters to dedicate the completed SUN New Testament.
“To someone who’s deaf or blind, these little raised images are a pathway to new life,” said Stephen Martin, Vice President of Field Development for Wycliffe Associates. “We must not leave the Deaf and the Blind to sit in a corner the rest of their lives.”
Since the completion of the SUN New Testament, both public and private education institutions in Africa have adopted SUN for use by their Deaf students. In Uganda, the Ministry of Education voted to adopt SUN as part of a three-year pilot program to teach the Bible to the Deaf-Blind.
In Tanzania, SUN has been used in both churches and the public school system. Deaf Muslims there are participating in SUN workshops as well.
Additionally, Christian churches in Africa are using SUN to take the lead in assisting the Deaf and Deaf-Blind, who are routinely marginalized by their families and communities.
About Wycliffe Associates
One of the world’s leading Bible translation organizations, Wycliffe Associates was organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators to accelerate the work of Bible translation. Wycliffe Associates empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language, partners with the local church to direct and guard translation work, harnessing their passion and desire for God’s Word, and engages people from all around the world to provide resources, technology, training, and support for Bible translation.
Because millions of people around the world still wait to have the Scriptures in the language of their hearts, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to see every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart. Wycliffe Associates is directly involved with speeding Bible translation by providing technology, training, resources, logistics, networking, expertise, volunteers, discipleship, church planting, and support. Wycliffe Associates staff and volunteers are currently accelerating Bible translations throughout the world. For more information, please see www.wycliffeassociates.org.
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