Hello friends of IDEA,
I have to apologize for not updating the website for the past five months. The fault really falls on my shoulders as we have been very busy plus some health issues that distracted me. I thought I had given this responsibility over to one of the IDEA staff but the job passing didn’t happen. At any rate, here is a glimpse at what has been going on. – Dennis Drake
Ormoc City: We are so happy to be able to be working very closely with the Department of Education in educating more than 100 deaf students from area and distant mountains. We are expecting an additional 30 students in June (beginning of a new school year) as we are currently surveying a large island off of Leyte that as of yet has no deaf education. The deaf kids from this island will boat over to Ormoc to study and stay in our dormitory. We are also excited to tying up with the Ormoc City Rotary Club in offering more vocational education opportunities for our graduates. The Rotary Club is made up city business leaders and many are committed to hire the deaf after they are trained. Maasin City: IDEA has trained some new teachers who will soon be taking their places in this growing school. Our IDEA building maintenance team has made several trips from Bohol Island to Maasin to take care of major repairs to the school and dormitory. We are making plans to add more bathrooms for the dormitory students.
We ran out of room in this IDEA dormitory for the deaf. Many of the kids are sleeping on the floors so we came up with a pl an to convert an open air courtyard into the new living room and dining room. We also added more bathrooms for the kids. This work has been on-going for the past six months and is progressing well. We are hopeful to finish up all the work by June in time for the start of classes.
Our new dormitory that is under construction here will have a capacity for 100 deaf students. It is going to be a beautiful facility. The roof will be going on by mid May and the completion date for the facility is set for September. Summer Jobs:
Our summer break from school in the Philippines is different from the U.S.. The kids get out at the end of March and go back to school by the beginning of June. This is the time of the year when plenty of local and international visitors come to the Capital City of Tagbilaran, Bohol. This is also where IDEA operates most of its EIGP’s (Employment / Income Generating Projects) With the influx of visitors, our hotel and restaurant need extra help so they are able to accept some of our deaf students from our Bohol Deaf Academy (BDA). Also this summer we have several construction projects that absorb summer workers. All of these summer-jobbers had undergone training in the school vocational classes that they are able to put into practical use on the job.
Garden Café, Tagbilaran City, Bohol:
A rather ominous deadline is approaching as Garden Café will soon reach the end of its 25 year lease with the Bohol Provincial Government. This EIGP (Employment / Income Generating Project) has been the flagship of our work with the deaf for the past 33 years. It employs some 28 deaf adults and has an international reputation for its uniqueness, good service, and good food. There is the real possibility that the government will not renew the lease and put all 28 deaf employees out of work. The consequences of this action are actually even greater than that. The Garden Café profits help support the schooling of hundreds of deaf children in the IDEA sponsored deaf schools. If this income is lost, it will have great implications on IDEA’s education program. So what are we doing?: IDEA has launched a public information campaign to make the average Bohol citizen aware of the significance of the Garden Café in caring for their fellow deaf Boholanos. We want them to understand that Garden Café is carrying out a role that is actually the Government’s responsibility. We want them to understand that by partnering with us, and not canceling our lease, the Government is fulfilling its responsibility. It is the general public and their opinion that the Provincial Council will listen to. We are also working to secure new locations for future restaurants that the workers could transfer to. We have made a bid for a space in the largest mall in the city plus are currently working to gain a space in the new airport terminal.
New Shop Office:
The IDEA construction and shop has about 85 persons working on projects this summer. Most of those workers are deaf men. Three new leadership people have been added to the shop staff in the past six months that help move it to a new level of professionalism. We have an Architect by the name Chrysler, plus a drafts man, shop manager, and a bookkeeper. Our shop now offers professional services in;
• General building construction
• Welding and metal fabrication
• Custom Cabinetry
• Custom Furniture Fabrication
• House Painting
• Automotive Body Repair and Painting
• Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
• Landscaping and Earthworks
• Hollow Block and Paving Block Making
• Solid waste recycling
Not only is the shop group taking care of all the maintenance issue on IDEA school and business facilities, it has taken on some private contracting clients. All profits from the shop operation are used to pay for deaf student education or plowed back into shop equipment to improve its capabilities to offer more jobs for the Deaf.