Visiting a local government office is often challenging for the Deaf. Some Deaf are courageous enough to overcome the communication barrier with basic gestures while many decide to avoid the difficulties of public communication altogether. The unfortunate reality is that the communication gap isolates many Deaf from the public.
As advocates for our Deaf brothers and sisters, IDEA knows that more can be done to help the Deaf communicate with the hearing public to obtain everyday services. IDEA is aiming to equip more hearing people with basic skills in sign language. IDEA’s community outreach programs teach sign language, and this year IDEA extended basic sign language classes to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Jagna, Bohol. Teachers from the Special Education (SPED) Center in Jagna hosted two-hour classes for 5 days in December. More than 30 individuals attended the classes. Each department of the municipality of Jagna sent a representative including some barangay (a local district within the municipality) council members, members of Bureau of Fire Protection, and the president of the local women’s organization.
IDEA offered classes to the Municipality of Jagna because many of IDEA’s Deaf beneficiaries are constituents of the town. Many Deaf children come to Jagna from nearby towns to study at the Jagna SPED Center and live in IDEA Dormitory for the Deaf.
Thank you to the NORFIL Foundation, Inc. for funding the sign language classes. With Jagna’s community leaders embracing sign language, IDEA is grateful to gain more advocates for the Deaf.