Monday, June 16, 2008

Deaf Schools in Monrovia

Sorry it has taken so long to post. We have not had access to the computer as much, and have been busy.

This past week has been packed full. Tuesday and Wednesday, we did a lot of traveling around the greater Monrovia area to visit other schools for the deaf. In all, we were able to visit five schools. The schools varied in sizes and styles; there was a boarding school, a school within an orphanage, a one year old school with only chalkboards to accommodate learning, and a school that integrated students who are deaf into general classrooms with hearing peers. Even though the schools were different, at each one, we were met by bright-eyed, eager children and young adults who surrounded us and loved to get their picture taken.

After visiting these schools, it is apparent the lack of support that deaf people receive from the community or the government. These schools are functioning on very little, with many students and few teachers. It is not surprising to hear, that some students attend school very little or stop coming at all. It is hard to become motivated to go to school when the future does not look bright.

The last Thursday was also a big day for the community of people with disabilities in Liberia. There was a march through town and the final stop was the capital building to bring a petition before the legislature to ratify the UN Convention on the rights of the disabled. Aaron and I were able to walk alongside our deaf brothers and sisters. I was actually able to see many of the students I met at other schools during the march. We will see if the legislature will put their support behind their citizens with disabilities.

This week I will be at the school, hopefully doing some interviews with the kids. Next week, there is a workshop planned for the teachers of which I will be conducting.

We will try to post as soon as we can. Hope everyone is well back home.



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