SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT A DEAF COMMUNITY ON THE ISLAND OF BOHOL?
More than 35 years ago, there was no deaf community in Bohol. Even years after IDEA began bringing deaf children into school, a deaf “community” still didn’t exist.
To have a group of special people become a community, leadership from those special people is required. It took years and years for the “early-years” Deaf to become old enough to assume their roles in leadership. Only then were we finally able to have the Bohol Deaf Community.
This community is now made up of perhaps more than 1000 persons including spouses and children of the Deaf. IDEA Philippines has assumed the role of helping develop the leadership for this community. Perhaps there have been two main thrust in this development effort. One has been to encourage the Deaf toward independence and secondly to teach them to look toward the other members for support. It’s the old saying “All for One and One for All”.
The basic components that IDEA Philippines has built into this community are:
- Sign language training for parents of deaf children
- Academic Education for deaf children
- Vocational Training for older deaf youth
- Christian Education for all Deaf
- Jobs for deaf adults
- Fellowship opportunities for all Deaf
- Training and counseling for married deaf couples
ANOTHER KIND OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
IDEA Philippines also works to give the regular hearing community better understand the Deaf. This is done through . . .
- Free sign language classes for the hearing community
- Involving deaf sports teams in competition with hearing teams
- Placing Deaf in visible jobs within the hearing community
- Acting as an advocate for the Deaf with the local government