Deaf Information Hub is a website designed to provide a number of useful resources to hearing parents with children with hearing loss and individuals who suddenly lose their hearing. It is being created by Deaf internship students Chezney van Groeningen, Bongumusa Mlaba and Jolin Jafta. “There are a lot of resources for the Deaf available on the internet but hardly any of these resources are specifically South African. We created this website to provide relevant resources to South Africans who need them,” Groeningen explains.
When hearing is all you have ever known, losing this sense suddenly can be very difficult and confusing. People who suffer from sudden hearing loss often do not know where to start looking for resources to assist them. The same applies to hearing parents with Deaf children. According to the NIDCD, more than 90% of Deaf children are born to hearing parents. These parents usually have no prior experience with deafness or hearing loss and yet in a very short time they need to make serious, often life-altering choices for their child.
“Hearing parents with Deaf children have the biggest influence on them but a lot of times hearing parents struggle to have a relationship with their child because they do not know how to assist or interact with them. These parents need access to impartial information and a supportive community, our website provides this” Groeningen says.
Deaf Information Hub makes a number of valuable resources available. These resources include a directory of the schools for the Deaf in each province in South Africa, as well as a Deaf organization directory. The website also includes a section that outlines the causes of deafness, a sign language guide, a Deaf shop that provides information on where to purchase assistive devices like hearing aids or alarm clocks for the Deaf, and a section that celebrates the achievements of members of the Deaf community. “We thought it was important to include the achievements section to show Deaf people and the rest of the world that being Deaf does not have to affect your goals, Deaf people are capable of great things,” Groeningen explains.
In addition to the above, the website also provides links to two other websites created by Deaf internship students at Belgium Campus. These website are DeafHUB, a website that focusses on education and assisting Deaf learners, and Disability Career 365, an employment website specifically designed for disabled jobseekers and organisations looking to hire disabled employees.
Groeningen, Mlaba and Jafta are also working on a mobile app to make the resources on their website more accessible. “These days more people access information using their mobile phones which is why we decided to create a mobile application. We have already started learning the mobile programming language,” Groeningen shares.