SS ocial isolation brought a change of routine for everyone. However, it seems that for the deaf audience the adaptations have been even more challenging. While many use digital platforms for work and entertainment, the deaf have difficulty finding content available in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras).
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), almost 10 million people in Brazil are hearing impaired. The number corresponds to 5% of the population, yet most Brazilians do not know how to communicate using Brazilian Sign Language (Libras). For this reason, many deaf people resort to lip reading.
Elvira Espírito Santo, from Rio de Janeiro, is deaf and faced these problems. “Each person’s life was affected because of the pandemic. People needed to distance themselves from each other and accessibility for the deaf is limited. Everyone was downcast with fear. It seems that we were distancing ourselves from God. I felt it.”, he says.
In the media of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, however, several updates were made to allow accessibility to all persons, including the use of interpreters in weeks of prayer and services promoted by TV Novo Tempo, as well as the use of interpreters in several programs promoted by the regional headquarters. .
With the objective of assisting in this point and promoting an inclusive program to the public, the Adventist Ministry of the Deaf (MAS), through the administrative office of the Adventist Church for the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, promoted from October 9th to 11th the 1st Weekend of the Deaf. The three-day series of online evangelism produced entirely in Libras had the option of translation into Portuguese.
“At the end of the Adventist Deaf Ministry week, the event [influenced] everyone involved in the deaf community (deaf, interested, interpreters, family members) to join together virtually to worship God, even [during] this quarantine period”, recalls Elvira. “What MAS did this weekend was to connect us to a chain and we could see that God unites us”, he completes.
The Adventist Ministry of the Deaf belongs to the Adventist Ministry of Possibilities, which coordinates several areas that deal with inclusion and accessibility. “The main objective is to spread and show the importance that this ministry has in the preaching of the gospel. The message is for everyone, so we need to make it accessible ”, explains the coordinator of the area in the southern region of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Giselli Belinassi.
“This includes breaking several paradigms and stereotypes built over the years. We seek the adhesion of people and the breaking of prejudices. You have to know to understand and understand to help. I believe that the more people who know this ministry, the more they will want to participate. I also see that there is a social interest in sign language ”, he ponders.
The program was attended by groups from the Adventist Deaf Ministry (MAS) from other places, such as Minas Gerais, Maranhão, Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Espírito Santo, and even Germany, who sent videos with songs, testimonies, stagings and many participated in person during specific parts of the program, such as intercessory prayer.
The speaker was Pastor Douglas Silva, who is also deaf and uses Libras for communication. He serves on the Paulistana Association of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in the deaf community.