“Really? Send my deaf child to school? What’s next after schooling? Could she get a job?”
Parents often ask questions like these when our teachers and staff visit the homes of deaf children to recruit them to school. Convincing a family to send their child to school has never been easy. Most parents are doubtful and unaware of their deaf child’s capabilities. Some would say helping deaf children is not worth it, but IDEA perseveres in doing our mission to help and serve the deaf.
Grace was one of those kids that our teacher visited again and again until she finally came to school. When she was 10 years old, Grace went to Loon Special Education (SPED) Center, but only a week after, her mother brought her back home because she kept crying in school. At that time, her parents enrolled her in a hearing class. Together with her sister, she attended a hearing school until the family realized it wasn’t easy for their deaf child to get along with the kids in their mainstream class. Her parents eventually decided to bring her back to Loon at the age of fourteen to formally start schooling.
Despite a low income, her parents strived hard to get through each day to allow Grace and her two siblings to continue their studies. Her father worked as a motorcycle-for-hire driver while her mother took care of the cockpit arena beside their house where she was paid a meager amount.
Grace became so absorbed in school and growing in her new dorm environment that she barely noticed her newfound independence. Her family was glad to see Grace thriving in a place where she no longer felt isolated and ignorant. At the dorm, she was helpful with chores and she led the younger kids like a big sister. Aside from academics, she was also able to develop her talent in dancing. When she reached high school at Bohol Deaf Academy, the vocational skills training increased her confidence. She learned sewing, how to make soap, baking, and computer graphics. On Graduation Day, she received the award, Best in Sewing.
Two months ago, Hammer and Nails Livelihood Center, Inc. happily welcomed Grace to work in the upholstery department. She is currently a trainee, and in a month’s time, she will be in a more independent “probationary” status. Being skilled with sewing really gave her an advantage in getting a job, especially in her field of interest. She is learning her job surprisingly quickly. When we asked her co-worker if Grace is doing well, he undoubtedly gave us the thumbs up. We are positive that she can do a great job in her work there.
“I am very happy that I have a job now and I can help my family. I am so much grateful for all the trainings in school. Thanks to IDEA and my sponsors for supporting me. I am hopeful that I can achieve my dream of having my own sewing business at home,” Grace said.
Indeed, a bright future awaits Grace. We extend a big thank you to all the generous donors and sponsors who take time to share their love and support through IDEA. Together we are making the dreams of our deaf children a reality. We are truly changing lives, one life at a time.