A New Job Perspective for Deaf in North Korea: Textile design/Felt making

Vocational Training Course for Deaf Students at the Deaf Schools in Bongsan and Songchon in North Korea

The principle of this project is to help people help themselves

In the sense of ‘help to self-help’, the training given by Mrs Ursula Schweizer (felt making teacher from Switzerland) laid the foundation for a wide variety of products crafted in several different felting techniques.

Textile designing or felt making was a newly introduced vocation in North Korea at that time. The students quickly understood the value of it for an independent professional life to eventually participate actively in the Korean Society as equals, generating income for themselves and for their families like non-disabled people do.

The People’s Committees supported the deaf students in their ambition to find out about the felt products most requested by people and children’s institutions, for example gloves, hats, woollen felt blankets, various toys and daily necessities made from felt.

The Korean Federation for Disabled and Orphans (KFDO) and the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD) have established cooperation between the deaf schools and the suppliers of raw material (hair and wool from various animals) for mutual benefit. Thus cooperation with all these new partners should increase the public awareness of the potential of deaf people and their employment.

A deaf student of Bongsan Deaf School was depressed and confused since he had no idea about his work in the future. Participating in the training course of Ursula Schweizer, he discovered his talent and interest in felt marking and expressed his gratitude with this still life with fruit he composed in felt.

With gratitude for the support from the German Embassy in Pyongyang!

The project of felt making was the pilot project in our supplementary approach to vocational training in deaf schools in North Korea. We are working on other courses to follow.

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