A new language for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind is now being used in both public and private schools in Africa.
It was developed by Wycliffe Associates, known for empowering mother-tongue Bible translators and partners with local churches in the advancement of Bible translation.
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.
“I can only say thank you SUN, thank you, because you gave me hope when I had lost all concerning learning,” stated one SUN workshop participant named John, “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.”
The organization held a celebration when they 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.