07 Aug Deaf Students Persevere in the Face of Challenges
One of the many benefits of our deaf school for adults is that we have helped the deaf come out of isolation and have taught them a common language. It’s amazing to witness how having a language and being surrounded by others who understand that language sets people free. Our students have to work very hard to learn their language while learning to read and write at the same time. Many of them work all day and then attend school at night, and several have spouses and children. However, being able to join a community of people who are like you and being able to find your voice is so liberating.
Imagine how this current crisis of staying home is impacting the deaf we serve. They are once again isolated and missing their newfound family with whom they can express themselves. On the other hand, the isolation has had a positive impact to a certain degree. The deaf have shown their commitment to doing school through video chats and completing their assignments daily. This has resulted in the majority of our students staying on track so that they will not miss an entire school year. However, the negative impact of their isolation has resulted in increased anxiety and frustration that is often manifested in their relationships at home. I (Donna) have spent some time with several of our students helping them learn new coping skills during their isolation.
Additionally, the spiritual needs of our deaf have been challenging to meet. Because most of them do not know how to read (the ones who do, read on a 2nd or 3rd grade level), even reading the Bible is difficult. Our church, like most, wasn’t prepared for the long-term adjustments of not having in-person worship. Our church offers voice recorded segments of a typical worship that can be accessed through WhatsApp. Obviously, this does not help our deaf. Zoom, commonly used in the US, is not accessible for the majority of our church due to lack of internet and/or the funds to have enough data on cell phones to be able to watch videos or participate in a Zoom meeting. This has left a void for our deaf that our leaders are currently working to resolve. Our leaders and church members have made sure that each of our deaf brothers and sisters are given monthly provision in the form of food and personal hygiene items. You can imagine the excitement and love they feel when a few of our members show up at their homes with the delivery.
Please pray for our deaf brothers and sisters during this time of extreme isolation for them. Pray our church will effectively attend to their spiritual needs. And pray for our deaf teachers and interpreters as they work extra hours to ensure each student gets the teaching they need to meet the requirements for the school year.