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A spiritual home for deaf people in Wuhan

Reporter: He Lin 丨 CCTV.com

05-15-2016 12:45 BJT

For many deaf people in central China's city of Wuhan, Tuesday and Friday mornings are exciting times, as they gather at a Sign Language Corner to talk with each other. Of course, in sign language. It's a place without communication problems or misunderstandings. And it has been a regular activity for the last ten years.

After a simple breakfast, Lin Fang and her husband have to catch the 7 am ferry to the other side of the Yangtze River to attend a large gathering of deaf people at Sign Language Corner. Lin Fang is 66 years old. Her parents and her husband are all deaf and she's known sign language since she was a child. While she and her husband have never had any issues communicating with each other, since his retirement 10 years ago, his behaviour at home has become increasingly erratic.

From their home in Wuchang to the Sign Language Corner, Lin fang and her husband have to catch a bus, transfer to a ferry and then take another bus. But rain or shine, they've made the trip religiously for the last 10 years. It was at Sign Language Corner that Ling Fang finally saw her husband smile again; something she hadn't seen in a long time.

Ling Fang has also volunteered as a sign language teacher at the group to teach people who aren't hearing impaired to talk to deaf people as equals.

For some deaf people, communication problems can mean life is lonely and difficult. This is why Deng Jiyu and his deaf friends set up Sign Language Corner in 2006.

"Many deaf-mutes come here to share their emotions with each other. The city authorities give us a lot support and now we have an eye-catching sign for Sign Language Corner," said Deng Jiyu, honorary chairman of Wuhan Disabled Persons' Federation.

There have more than 20 million people with hearing and speech related disabilities in China. These communication barriers can affect all aspects of their life such as work, study and entertainment. Since it launched 10 years ago, more than 160,000 people from all over China - and even some from abroad - have visited Sign Language Corner. It has become a spiritual home for deaf people and their friends.

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