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Video: The Indonesian village where 80% of residents use sign language for communication


Speaking of the deaf, 80% of this Bali village can use their own sign language. It was not until the 1960s that Bengkala village began to make efforts to better integrate its deaf residents and nowadays everyone is treated equally. 

 Tucked away in northern Bali, Bengkala is an Indonesian village where nearly all the residents know sign language.

 Children there are 15 times likelier to be born with a hearing disorder. Elders had long feared they had angered a deity, but as residents adapted over the generations and even came up with their own sign language, they finally learned the mysterious cause.

In the past, villagers thought the high incidence of deafness was due to a curse but those superstitions and the prejudices they created have largely been abandoned after experts concluded it was due to a recessive gene common among the local population.

Attempts to ensure harmony in the village start at a young age, with a Bengkala elementary school teaching all children side by side.

The students are all given lessons in the local sign language, and are introduced to elements of Indonesian and international signing.

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