In Honduran society, due to a shortage of resources, almost none of the deaf have an opportunity to learn how to read or write or even speak (with sign language). As a result they are often unable to work and earn sufficient income to support a family. This leads to much misery and suffering for the deaf population as a whole. Recognizing this great need and the lack of resources or emphasis on helping this marginalized group of people, MUR began a school for deaf, illiterate adults in 2017. The underlying value of education as a “magic key to take you where you want to be” is what drives the school and those invaluable people who work as teachers and assistants.
The ESPERO students, study at night and are taught a curriculum that the Honduran Government has certified for teaching illiterate, hearing adults. The curriculum begins just like a first-grade hearing student would begin his or her studies. The difference between this program for illiterate adults and hearing children is that the entire elementary school educational process is accelerated. And in addition to learning to read and write through this program, like hearing people, they are also taught Honduran sign language (LESHO) as well. Students report that they have felt isolated and alone all of their lives until they came to ESPERO and learned to communicate with other deaf people just like themselves.
At present ESPERO, due to funding limitations, is only able to help adults who live in Santa Rosa de Copán. In the future, we would like to offer this same program to both adults and children of Santa Rosa. And then, even further in the future, offer the same program to others throughout the region. There are approximately 1800 people in the city that are deaf with half of those being children. And in the entire region of Western Honduras, the World Health Organization’s statistics indicate there are an estimated 76,000+ deaf people with 38,000 of them being children. MUR is already making a significant impact on the lives of a few precious people who are deaf however if we are ever going to make a significant impact on the 1000’s who are handicapped with a lack of hearing, we will have to be able to establish satellite schools. Right now we are focused on the few while keeping alive our dream of something much larger in the future.