in the Philippines
Marian and Nana Dumitra are missionaries with
Torchbearers Austria*. Marian is a CODA (child
of Deaf Adult) from Romania (Europe), and Nana
is trained as a teacher/dorm parent for the
The Dumitras moved to the Philippines in May
2001 to work with DMI (Deaf Ministries International).
DMI has a school for the Deaf with dormitory,
farm and hearing clinic in Ligao (near Legaspi
in the Bicol region). DMI wanted to start a
new Church Ministry Department and had called
the Dumitras to do that.
After three years in country Marian was called
to become church coordinator for DMI in the
Bicol region. There are four small churches
for the Deaf. Marian’s main goal is to
train and encourage the leaders and to enable
them to reach out to other deaf. He is leading
church services, bible study groups and training
sessions for the leaders; he is also teaching
college level sign language classes for hearing
Sign Language (FSL) has a very
strong influence from American Sign Language
(ASL), some Deaf even go as far as saying that
only ASL is true sign language and FSL is just
some kind of home gestures. Also there is a
strong influence of Signing Exact English (SEE)
which is used in most of the schools for the
Deaf in this country.
Research conducted by Liza B. Martinez, Ph.D.,
a hearing Filipina who trained in sign language
linguistics at Gallaudet University in Washington,
D. C., Philippine Deaf Resource Center** and
Philippine Federation for the Deaf*** showed
that there is a true Filipino Sign Language.
Especially during bible studies and leaders
training it soon became apparent to Marian and
Nana that the deaf could not understand the
Bibles that were available (easy English), so
the Dumitras began translating Bible verses.
The next problem they encountered was, that
many of the Deaf in the provinces are not able
to read English or translate signs into English
words. So the question was how to write the
Then the Dumitras heard about Steve and Dianne
Parkhurst’s work in Spain; see SignWriting
Within a few weeks they started working on a
dictionary for FSL using SignWriter
DOS 4.4 This dictionary now contains
about 440 entries which over the next few months
need to be transferred to SignPuddle.
When the Dumitras started to translate more
of the Bible, they soon realized that they needed
help. This they found with SIL/Wycliff Bibletranslators
in the Philippines. The translation is being
done in collaboration with SIL, Mrs. Hope Hurlbutt
is the translation consultant. The plan is to
do the Bible translation (Bible parts) using
Right now the Dumitras are working on the dictionary,
teaching Sign Language Classes for hearing students,
training some deaf to read and write SignWriting.
They also started to adapt the SW Lessons by
the Parkhursts to fit into the Filippino context.
Even though all this is only part of their ministry
to the Deaf, it nevertheless is a lot of work.
They are still praying for additional workers
both deaf and hearing.
For more information please contact:
* Marian & Nana Dumitra, P. O. Box 81, 4500
Legaspi City, Albay, Philippines, firstname.lastname@example.org
** Philippine Deaf Resource Center, Inc., 27
K-7 Street, West Kamias, Quezon City 1102, Philippines,
Phone: (632) 9218521
*** Philippine Federation for the Deaf, 31-B
San Jose Street, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon
City, Philippines, Phone: (632) 4485927