It is a pleasure to share with you our partners in Ministry our activities in the year under review.
Academic Program/Monrovia Branch: Our academic program of our academic year began on September 6, 2012 and came to an end on July 5, 2013. A closing program was perfectly organized and executed with parents in full attendance. The guest speaker at this program was Mr. Christopher Z. Neyor. Mr. Neyor encouraged the deaf to work harder and move forward not allowing anything to deter them. He was very generous to our deaf children and he lovingly donated a modern machine that is both a photocopier/printer along with a modern office desk and a chair. Not only that, but Mr. Neyor has committed himself to supporting the Hope For The Deaf School in any way possible, all we need to do is to call on him when need be. Thanks Mr. Neyor.
There was refreshment following the program. Students were seen celebrating after a long period of intense studies. Students just entering school for the first time are allowed to go through our six months Sign – Language Tutorial program where their communication skill in Sign – Language are built, and thereby preparing them for the regular academic program. We were able to set up and designed one of our classrooms for the young children to have hands on learning experiences.
Academic 2013/2014 began on September 9, 2013 with an enrollment of 56 students. We look forward to an increment in this number as we continue to gradually receive kids in our beginner class.
Vocational Program: Wonderful things are happening in our skills training departments. Phase one of our second cycle training in both shoe making and tailoring came to an end July 5, 2013 and four of our students were able to graduate from our phase one programs. Two students from Tailoring and two from the Shoes Making program. Our phase two and final stage for qualification will start on October 7, 2013. We are looking forward to hiring additional Tailoring teacher because of the size of this class.
Students just beginning this class for the first time will have to be separated so as to enable them go through the fundamental.
We may really not be accepting new students in our shoe making class due to inadequate space. However, we will try to begin encouraging students now to take advantage of this training during our next training cycle in 2014. Normally, students don’t express interest in Shoes Making; there is always less number of students in our shoes making class.
Kakata Sign Language Training:
Our Sign Language Training program in Kakata, Margibi County is ongoing and our trainees are doing pretty well. Their communication is improving on a daily basis thereby preparing them for academic work soon. Two Teacher Training Workshops were conducted to improve the skills of our teachers in Kakata.
Currently we have enrolled 17 students in our sign language program and are planining a media awereness program in the Kakata-Firestone areas for parents with deaf children.
Inclusive Education Project:
The Hope For The Deaf is carrying on an Inclusive Education program at the Free Penticostal High School in Monrovia few blocks away from the Hope For The Deaf School. This is actually a pilot project with the idea of settinng the stage for the promotion of an inclusive society thus minimizing and eventually doing away with myths and discrimination of persons with disabilities. The Hope For The deaf school operates up to Grade six and then a transition to the Inclusive program where they are allowed to continue their education up to High School. This is actually our third year operating this program.
Last school year (2012/2013) we were blessed to have graduated the first two deaf students from high school. This current academic year, we are looking foreward to graduate another two deaf students.
Twelve months have passed since this graduation took place and these children are still sitting doing absolutely NOTHING at all. There is no possibility of deaf student entering any Institution of higher learning in Liberia, which I think is sadden and a violation to their right to education. We are currently in a conversation with our own University to see the possibility of accepting deaf and hard of hearing children. We are preparing a proposal to be submitted to the President of the United Methodist University for the acceptance of deaf students. Over the years the United Methodist Church has been very successful in making education accessable to the deaf in Liberia.
Currently we have the total of twelve students in our Inclusive program and this school year (2013 & 2014) is being sponsored by the Middletown UMC in the United States of America. May God bless the works of their hands.
Travel: During the year under review, we accepted an invitation to visit our partner in ministry, Middletown UMC, Middletown, Maryland in the United States of America. During our two months visiting the United States ( July& August), we were blessed to have been able to share our stories with the Middletown UMC family. We shared our success stores as well as our challenges at the Hope For The Deaf. The amount of eight hundred United States dollars (800USD) was collected by the Middletown UMC for the purchase of shoes for our deaf students. Now thirty-two students are now happily wearing new shoes. Middletown UMC also paid the amount of four thousand nine hundred and sixty United States dollars (4,960USD) for scholarship support for the total of twenty-nine students, both from the Hope For The Deaf and our Inclusive Education program at the Free Pentecostal High School on 10th Street, Sinkor. It was indeed a blessing to have taught at the Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the Middletown UMC.
It was a wonderful experence for me. We were blessed to have visited the oldest and most outstanding Deaf High School in the US, the Maryland School of the Deaf and are currently discussing the possibility of a student exchange program with students at the Hope For The Deaf School.
We also attented the Helen Keller World Conference with Deafblind people. The conference was held in the Philippine (East Asia), from November 4 to November 15. Reports were made from different regions of the world and issue of support for deafblind was high lighted from those different reports. We return home with the challenge of establishing a deafblind organization / club in Liberia.
Parents Of Deaf Children: Over the years we have noticed with regret that most parents are not enjoying a good relationship with their deaf children (child). Most parents complaint that their deaf children are not really staying home with them after school period. According to the parents, the children prefer going out and spending time with other deaf children or staying around the school premises and having fun with their friends. We will really love to see parents relating to their deaf children in the home. We think the problem has being communication. Most parents don’t understand the sign language therefore are not able to communicate with their deaf children, something we think is a serious barrier in the home. In view of this we have set up a serious Sign Language Tutorial program for parents with deaf children. The Middletown UMC in the United States has sent us a lot of Sign Language DVD for this class. This is doing pretty well and some parents are nowable to relate to their children in the deaf language (sign language).
Conference and our resident Bishop, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, we say once again thanks for working together and may we continue very closely with compassion, working with God’s people.
Respectfully Submitted, David T. Worlobah, II, Program Director
Approved: Dr. Elizabeth K. Harris, Board Chair