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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bunroeun no animal

Bunroeun no animal

The Editor,


ith reference to the letter in the Post August 9 - 22 "In defense of adoptions"

by Mr. Daniel Susott.

In his letter, Mr. Susott wrote about "little Bunroeun, a deaf-mute boy"

in an orphanage in Phnom Penh. "Last time I saw him, at 'Orphanage Number 4',

a repository for 'unpres-entables' near Pochentong Road, Bunroeun looked like an

animal, unable to communicate, brutal with the smaller children around him. Very

sad. He could have been a person, in a family, in a community. With a future."

I would like to update the Post's readers on the situation of Bunroeun. A program

assistant for deaf people, Mrs. Kiev Navy, was sent to the orphanage by Cambodian

Disabled People's Organization (CDPO) and Disabled People's International (DPI).

Bunroeun is employed as a construction worker and makes about $50 a month. He can

communicate using very basic sign language and gestures. He does not look like an

animal. He is a person and was a person on the day that he was born, hearing or non-hearing.

He does have a future!

I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage the Post's readers to be

aware that it is not appropriate to call a deaf person "deaf-mute". This

is considered a derogatory term by deaf adults, implying an inability to express

oneself. Some deaf people speak very well and clearly; others choose not to use their

voice if they think that they are difficult to understand or have problems monitoring

their pitch or volume, or simply prefer not to use their voice. Deafness usually

has little effect on the vocal chords and very few deaf people are truly mute.

CDPO is currently supporting meetings for deaf adults every Thursday at 8:00am in

their office to encourage socialization and the development of Khmer Sign Language.

In addition, a group of deaf children meet at the blind school of Krousar Thmey every

Tuesday. At the moment, there are approximately 30 deaf adults attending every week

and about 20 deaf children.

- Amy Talbott-Delneuville, Deaf Education Specialist, No. 11A, St. 29, Phnom




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