Special support for deaf and hard of hearing refugees in sign language, life skills, and job application
- Support for deaf Ukrainian refugees
- Country of Implementation
- Start Year
- First published
“Uschi: You also have fun at Job.com? Andrii: Yes, that is important!” Uschi Fürthner, a deaf trainer at Job.com Andrii and Roman, two deaf Ukrainian refugees and job.com participants
The Hospital St. John of God Linz is located in Linz, the capital city of the State of Upper Austria. In 2022 and 2023 the hospital supported 47 refugees with hearing impairments by providing accommodation and counselling, but also by organizing German and Austrian Sign Language courses. The hospital cooperated intensively with the regional Federation of the Deaf, which created a unique and targeted support system for those refugees whose special needs are usually neglected.
The project addresses the special needs of refugees with hearing impairments who must quickly learn both written German, in order to communicate with hearing Austrians, and Austrian Sign Language, in order to be able to make use of specialized services for deaf people in Upper Austria.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Hospital St. John of God Linz (Konventhospital Barmherzige Brüder Linz) is a large hospital in the capital city of Upper Austria that includes a department for the deaf, and which is staffed with people with hearing impairments. Following the start of the war in Ukraine in March 2022 refugees in Germany contacted the department, and it in turn the department provided targeted support for deaf refugees, placing them in three locations around Linz. Forty-seven adults and children with hearing impairments were supported with a variety of measures, including adapted accommodation, assistance in sign language, and customized courses in Austrian Sign language to quickly build up language skills. The hospital also cooperated with Job.com, an education programme that supports the deaf and hearing-impaired community in Austria with written German and Austrian Sign Language materials, courses, and resources online and in person. In addition to language skills, the refugees were provided training in social skills and job application skills as well. The Deaf Association of Upper Austria (Gehörlosenverband Oberösterreich) was involved in the preparation and implementation of the project from its very beginnings, as were deaf employees of the hospital and deaf members of the communities of the three villages where the refugees had been placed. At the end of 2022 most of the displaced persons had found jobs and homes.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The project was mainly financed by the hospital itself, by private donations, and with funding from the province of Upper Austria and the Social Ministry Service, a department of the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs, which also supports the Job.com project. (Awardee 2024)