World Deaf Leadership
Name: Namiraa Baljinnyam
Field of Study: Special Education
My name is Namiraa Baljinnyam. I was born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. I received my education from both hearing and deaf schools. When I was a student of the Deaf school, I noticed that most of the students had very poor abilities in our native language, and they received a poor quality of education. When I left the school, I promised myself that I would return to the school and help deaf children learn their native language as best as possible. To achieve my goal, I decided to educate myself first. I graduated from The National University of Mongolia with my BA on linguistics in 2005 because I believed that I should excel in our native language in order to teach it to deaf children. Right after graduating with my BA, I enrolled into Mongolian State University of Education and graduated with my MA in Educational Studies.
Since that there is no Deaf Education program in Mongolian universities, I dreamed to study at Gallaudet University for a long time. Finally, I received the World Deaf Leadership (WDL) Scholarship from the Nippon Foundation, Japan to study at Gallaudet University in 2008.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I did not arrive at Gallaudet University until 2009.
I enrolled into the Department of Education at Gallaudet University as a graduate student to major in Deaf Education in 2010. I learned that Early Intervention is the key to supporting and facilitating deaf children's language acquisition, as well as their cognitive and social/emotional skills. Thus, I realized an early intervention program could build a strong foundation for Mongolian deaf education. Since that there is no early intervention program for the deaf in Mongolia, my goal is to set up an early intervention program in Mongolia after my graduation from Gallaudet University. In order to achieve my goal successfully, I enrolled into an Early Intervention Graduate Certificate Program in conjunction with my Deaf Education major in 2012. I am currently further developing my WDL project along with my schoolwork. My WDL project is named "The Future in Our Hands." It is a proposal for the purpose of establishing an early intervention program in Mongolia. I am expecting to graduate from Gallaudet University with my Master's degree in the summer of 2013.
My special thanks go to the Nippon Foundation. The WDL scholarship's support is very great. It is like a dream come true. It opens our eyes to the world's Deaf community, opens the door that had been closed for the Mongolian Deaf, gives many opportunities to study abroad, and supplies professionals who will work on the development of Deaf community. Actually, there are no professionals who specialize in Deaf education with bilingual system in Mongolia, so I am glad that I will be the first one who will be specialized in Deaf education as well as Early Intervention for the Deaf. My experiences that are supported by the Nippon Foundation and Gallaudet University will surely lead to a significant change of Mongolian Deaf Education. The WDL scholarship does not just benefit me, it benefits the Mongolian Deaf community as well. For example, before I received this scholarship, our Deaf people were unsure for their abilities to get higher education and their right to receive qualified education. Furthermore, our Deaf community did not know about Deaf culture, Deaf value as well as Deaf education. When I return to my home country, I will immediately give my best effort to build a strong foundation for Deaf Education as well as teach Deaf issues to Mongolian Deaf community. I would want our both Deaf and hearing communities to understand the true meaning of Dr. Marlee Matlin's quote: "It may be true that life is challenging when you are unable to hear, but believe me when I say the real "handicap" of deafness does not lie in the ear, it lies in the mind." (Matlin, 2009).