An estimated nine million people in Pakistan have some form of hearing loss. Of these, 1.5 million children are profoundly deaf, yet less than 10,000 attend school.
To address this need, the Deaf Reach Program works to empower deaf children and youth through education and literacy, training in marketable skills, and employment opportunities.
Since its beginnings in 1998, the program has worked to build an educational model to meet the pressing need for Deaf education in Pakistan. This holistic, community-centered approach includes the development of local teachers, training of parents and communities, job placement assistance for the deaf, the development of Pakistan Sign Language, and advocacy to create understanding and awareness of Deaf culture and the needs of the Deaf community in Pakistan.
Deaf Reach Schools and Training Centers are located in Karachi, Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Sukkur and Lahore. These campuses currently form the only branch network of schools for the deaf in rural areas of Pakistan. An international branch has also been opened in Adana in Southern Turkey in cooperation with local NGO AFS.
New centers will soon open in Karachi and Gilgit-Balistan, and a custom-built campus with capacity for 500 students will soon be ready in Rashidabad, Tando-Allahyar. The Deaf Reach program continues to work toward its long-term goal of making accessible education a reality for greater numbers of deaf children and youth throughout the country.
With the support of the local community, to date, the Deaf Reach Program has benefitted over 5,000 deaf students in Pakistan.