Deaf woman to contribute through sign language in the Dominican Republic

Hirose Meri san speaks about the ambition in the Dominican Republic.
(photo: http://digital.asahi.com/)

January 9, 2013

A Deaf woman Hirose Meri san (39) from Tokyo who uses sign languages of several countries, such as Japan, the U.S. etc., will be dispatched to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea in the field of the "youth activity" as a Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers member on January 10.

She will work for the NGO "Home for Children" which runs a school for the Deaf in Ra Romana in the eastern part of the country for two years.

Hirose san was born deaf in Mooka-shi, Tochigi Prefecture and attended a school for the Deaf. She wanted to be enrolled in a hearing school when she was a second grader, and moved with her family to Tokyo, studying with hearing classmates through a junior college.

After working for the major company for about eight years, she started a sign language school in Tokyo with an American friend to promote an exchange program for the Deaf from various countries.

Then, she went to the U.S. in 2008 and studied business at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She had even internship with a video relay service company.

Hirose san has traveled alone in South America for three months. She met a Deaf girl in Paraguay and was shocked to know that she was forced to marry a 40-year-old man at the age of 14.

Hirose san says, "I want to help people with various handicaps able to become independent in order to live peacefully."


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