US priest aids Cambodia’s deaf

Father Charles Dittmeier combats isolation and the myth that the deaf are mentally deficient.

Kids playing in a large suburban compound in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh greet Father Charles Dittmeier with broad smiles. And a young girl uses sign language to ask when he will be coming back.

Father Dittmeier, a diocesan priest from Louisville, Kentucky, and a Maryknoll Associate Priest, has for the past 19 years been director of the nation’s Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme (DDP).

It’s one of only a few organisations in the country that helps deaf people. And it is the only one in Cambodia that provides job skills allowing deaf people to support themselves and their families.

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