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Gnan, biking to town

“Those who are witnesses to Jesus do not give out ideas, ideologies or even doctrines. They speak of what they have lived, experienced, seen and heard in their hearts.”  Jean Vanier (founder of L’Arche)

For the past year the Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme (DDP) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, has been providing leadership training to 20 deaf youth. One of these promising youth is an energetic young woman named Gnan.

Gnan (left) training a group of young deaf women

Her parents are farmers, and she has four siblings. We first made contact with her when one of our outreach teams visited her home village. Her parents have been very supportive of her attending our deaf education classes. Her mother visited her often when Gnan was staying in the DDP hostel while attending classes.

The Deaf Development Programme introduces its students to the broader deaf community through regular weekend activities. This is very important for the socialization of the students and also for their sign-language development.

Gnan was selected for leadership training and has put these skills to good use in the deaf community. In the photo at right she is teaching a class to young deaf women on the important topic of domestic violence.

It gives me hope to see such potential among the deaf youth in our program.


Russ Brine
Russ Brine is the finance manager of the Deaf Development Programme in Phnom Penh.