Gap-year Program to Serve the Deaf

TeachBeyond South Africa is partnering with Deaf Friendly to launch the ‘Sign for Life’ program. Deaf Friendly works to reach, teach, and enable the deaf in South Africa to see the Gospel. Twelve 20-30 year olds will be accepted every year to join the program. These paying volunteers will gain exposure to the outreach and ministry among the Deaf in South Africa, and have the opportunity to serve for approximately 5-6 weeks.

“The volunteers who sign up for this program will learn Sign Language and travel to 31 hubs around South Africa where we serve the Deaf. Many of these hubs are in a rural setting, where volunteers will also be exposed to local food, housing, and bucket baths,” said Pastor Dirk Venter, Founder and Director of Deaf Friendly.

“In 2 Samuel 9, David asked if there was anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom he could show kindness. Ziba, a servant of Saul’s household, was brought to the king.

The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?” Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.” “Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel. When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!” “At your service,” he replied. “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” (2 Samuel 9:6-7)

Our hope through this program is to create more Zibas who will advocate for the needs of the Deaf here in South Africa or wherever they go.” he said, adding, “We hope to start this program next summer.”

TeachBeyond South Africa also plans to support the children of deaf adults in pronunciation and with a number of other resources.

“One of the things that I struggled with in my childhood was pronunciation, since my parents couldn’t help me. My father and mother, who were both deaf, pronounced many sounds differently because they couldn’t hear the difference,” shared Dirk.

“I’m excited for the partnership with TeachBeyond. They have a lot of resources, and we’d love to develop them to make them useable for the Deaf,” he said.

For more information or to apply for this program, contact us at