A Community Library for Malaysian Federation of the Deaf (MFD)

by Soon Kit

Malaysian Federation of the Deaf (MFD) is a self-help organization administrated by the hearing-impaired community from all walks of life in Malaysia. Our team has consistently showed our support towards the advocacy and empowerment effort made by MFD in securing equal rights and opportunities for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing countrywide.

We understand the hearing-impaired children that MFD currently serves are in need of a community library for their early character development. In the hope of supporting these kids in the aspects of social development, we put our little effort to improve their learning environment by introducing them into the world of books. The setup of this community library is carefully designed to suit the interest and developmental levels of children, and we believe it can eliminate some existing learning barriers that these children face to some extent.

We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to our corporate sponsor, TCR that had fully supported this initiative. The sponsored items include 450 books, 3 bean bags, a carpet and 3 bookshelves. The whole setup project took a few hours with the assistance of the MDF staff on the spot. In order to ensure this library can be a ‘learning laboratory’ for these children to meet their desire to learn about a variety of topics, we carefully selected a wide range of library materials so that they can progressively make good use of the resources with relatively little assistance.

This project allows MFD to provide a more comfortable learning environment for these children with special needs. With the presence of this facility, the tutors or facilitators can initiate some inclusive programmes, such as book talks and storytelling in sign language. The children get to expose themselves to a world where reading is a fun and cool adventure by walking through visual supports and a variety of sensory activities!

The Highlight Behind the Cause

The quantity of language input plays a critical role in the early years of child’s language and character development. For most of the hearing impaired children, they lose the privilege of learning to talk by listening to speech. This leaves a long-lasting implication for their overall social and academic success. We hope the reading activities at this community library can become another great channel for these kids to understand their feelings. Many of them may become frustrated when unable to express themselves effectively through words. We believe that reading allows these kids to match their feelings and emotions to words. Besides enhancing their emotional development, these children will be more inspired while sharing their dreams with their peers at this opening learning zone. With the presence of this community library, the cultivation of desire to read – the curiosity and interest – can be the cornerstone of learning amongst these children.