JEDDAH — Dar Al-Hekma University screened the German movie “Beyond Silence” on Thursday followed by a panel discussion as part of an awareness campaign about hearing impairment by the Speech, Language and Hearing Science Program (SLHS).
“Awareness is the first level toward change and at Dar Al-Hekma we try to be the catalysts for positive change in the Kingdom. Sometimes all you need to do is help the community walk a mile in someone’s shoes for them to realize the magnitude of their problem and make the community members advocate for the cause,” said Dr. Suhair Hassan Al-Qurashi, president of the university.
SLHS is active in raising awareness in the community about many disorders. The goals of this campaign is to raise awareness about hearing impairment and its effect on communication across two cultures — Saudi and German, the rights of individuals with hearing impairment to receive services such as education, sign language interpreters, and speech and language therapy.
Dar Al-Hekma University tried to address the challenges faced by families of individuals with hearing problems in the community. The event compared how different cultures deal with hearing impairment and the different services provided in each culture.
“We were privileged to have guests and panelists who represent a variety of views in the deaf community. The event concluded with Dr. Amal El-Tigani, Dar Al-Hekma vice president for finance and administration, announcing that the university will support the Deaf Week, which will take place on April 14-16,” said Dr. Areej Alasseri, provost at Dar Al-Hekma.
The movie combined with the panel discussion exposed the audience to the aspects of living with hearing impairment. It shed light on the challenges individuals with hearing impairment faceed when interacting with the world and the services and support needed by them.
Beyond Silence tells the story of a young woman whose parents were hearing impaired. The movie was released in 1996 and was a catalyst for change at that time. Many people learned sign language after the release of the movie as part of their social responsibility toward the hearing impaired.
Dar Al-Hekma is screening the movie to the female public with English subtitles, Arabic translation and Arabic sign language.
The panelists included Sultana Alireza, chief executive officer of Jeddah Institute for Speech & Hearing (JISH), Faiza Natto, director of Deaf Women’s Club in Jeddah, Susanne Schweizer, a German sign language interpreter, Sara Alseini, Dar Al-Hekma University’s alumna, and Bodoor Al-Lahem, author of the book “When Your Voice Comes Out”. — SG