Breaking the Silence – China – Hong Kong (AMSAHK)

Name of the activity: Breaking the Silence

Country/NMO: China – Hong Kong (AMSAHK)

Program: Dignified & Non-Discriminatory Healthcare


Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education


General description:

‘Breaking the Silence’ is a sign language and deaf awareness training course that is tailored for medical students in Hong Kong. It provides medical students with the opportunity to learn basic sign language which will facilitate effective communication with hearing impaired patients in their future careers. Furthermore, it allows them to develop their awareness and empathy towards the deaf community in Hong Kong through sharing sessions by members of the deaf community, and fosters their motivation to support this vulnerable social group and alleviate the difficulties that they may face in various situations in daily life.

Focus area:

Vulnerable or marginalized populations | Persons with disabilities

Problem statement:

In Hong Kong, there is a hearing-impaired population of 155,200, but only 54 registered sign language interpreters according to government statistics. This has been causing great inconvenience in the lives of the population such as when seeing the doctor. South China Morning Post reported that sign language lessons are only provided by 5 main deaf-services NGOs in HK. Communication is vital between doctors and patients. 70% of the diagnostic clues comes from the conversation with patients.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

Target groups:
All medical students in Hong Kong (i.e. from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

– Medical students who participated in Breaking the Silence (primary beneficiaries)
– The hearing-impaired population of Hong Kong whom may have to communicate with doctors during medical consultations (secondary beneficiaries)
– The Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies (CSLDS) (tertiary beneficiaries)

Objectives and indicators of success:

Raise awareness&develop empathy of med students towards the difficulties that the deaf community face in healthcare& self-evaluation points b/w pre&post-event surveys which used self-assessment to gauge one’s awareness level
Provide interested medics with an opportunity to learn sign lang-# of medics that signed up for&attended BTS
Equip medics with necessary skills to communicate with deaf the#of correct sign lang identified b/w pre&post-event surveys
Increase visibility of existing opportunities to support CSLDS &/the deaf among the local medics-#of parti.interested in engaging with the deaf upon completion of BTS incl. but not limited to volunteering@CSLDS


The Activity comprises four 2.5 hour long sessions to be held at both HKU and CUHK. Each session will involve a sign language lesson component taught by a qualified sign language instructor in addition to a sharing by members of the deaf community (including deaf patients, their family members, and medical professionals who have past experience in treated such patients). Participants will be taught foundation sign language based on the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies (CSLDS) Basic Sign language Course Part I as well as additional signs for medical terms which may be applicable in clinical settings.

Plans for evaluation:

We plan to create a pre-event and post-event survey on questions which aims to evaluate their skills, knowledge and motivation with regards to the deaf community in Hong Kong.

Questions evaluating on one’s skills will include the identification of sign language that will be learnt in class (factual).

In terms of evaluating one’s knowledge, we will include some facts of the deaf population in Hong Kong and we will ask participants whether they know those facts beforehand.

In terms of evaluating one’s motivation, we will include some self-evaluation questions such as whether participants would like to serve the deaf community.

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