By: Francis and Laura Mallorca
IDEA: Southern Leyte, Philiippines
Seven year old Peljune lives with his aging parents and sister in the mountains above Maasin City, Southern Leyte and the city’s SpEd center. IDEA’s transportation allowance is enough for the boy’s fare to and from class, but the extremely rough road makes the trip twice daily nearly impossible. Even if the road was passable, his parents are unable to accompany him because of their poor health and dire poverty. For now, until alternative housing can be arranged, Peljune will not be able to enroll. Despite their disappointment, his parents’ warm welcome during our home visit and gifts of corn and bananas showed their commitment to do whatever they can for their son.
The government red tape involved in setting up this work is huge but it’s worth it. Every second of waiting, every minute in meetings, and every moment spent working toward creating education opportunities and life for the deaf children in Southern Leyte is worth seeing the progress of the program and growth of the newly enrolled students. While in Maasin last week, we had a chance encounter with Peljune and his mother who were down from the mountains to visit his aunt. It was wonderful to see the boy again, and at the same time was a powerful reminder that IDEA’s work here has just begun.
Peljune and many more like him are still in the mountains, waiting for a dormitory and their chance to join their peers, to study, learn and grow like all children should.