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