Dec 12 2007
We have an incredible adventure coming up! The Signing Time Foundation has partnered with Signs of Hope International to bring Signing Time to Ghana Africa.
The Signing Time Team will include Leah, Alex, Rachel (me), Aaron (my husband), Derek (Alex’s Dad) and Robi (Alex and Leah’s uncle). On January 21st we will head to Ghana Africa to teach deaf children and to teach their teachers for 10 days
Ghana is the size of Oregon. They have 13 schools for the deaf. Deaf children start school at the age of 5. Many are dropped off for their 3 month semester and their families never come back to pick them up. A week after the semester ends, an orphanage bus comes to get the children who have been left.
Many of the families cannot afford the tuition $83 per semester. Many families are embarrassed that their child is deaf.
The teachers have no background in Deaf Ed. They finish college and are assigned to teach at a school. Most teachers are unhappy to find they are assigned to a deaf school. They do not know the language and have no proof that these deaf children CAN be taught.
I learned about a student, Silvia that goes to a special school for the deaf in Mampong, Ghana. Apparently, Silvia was born hearing and attended the hearing schools until she was devastated by a sickness that left her deaf. A few short years later another sickness caused her to lose her sight and become blind. Now without hearing and vision Silvia struggles to learn and progress and wants so much to be in a classroom where she can learn. I feel that Silvia deserves an opportunity to become what she hopes for!
Organizations like Signs of Hope International have found that most teachers are entering the deaf schools without proper sign language education. Because of the lack of suitable resources, deaf children are struggling to learn and progress using sign language to enhance their education.
In Ghana deaf children have extremely limited rights and opportunities compared to deaf children in the United States. Like Silvia, any students at the schools for the deaf in Ghana struggle to receive an education, and it was not too long ago that some headmasters at the high school for the deaf have finally allowed girls to attend too.
When Leah heard this, she was distraught. Her eyes were full of tears and she said, “Mom!! We have to do something!! I’m deaf and I’m a girl and if I was born in Ghana I wouldn’t have a chance!”
While filming the last Signing Time shows we interviewed Leah and I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up. She said, “I want to be a writer and make books or a teacher for the deaf African kids that don’t know sign yet. At these schools the teachers don’t know anything about the deaf and ASL.”
Well, Leah will not have to wait until she has grown up. We have partnered with Signs Of Hope International – they have created internships for Americans who know ASL to go teach the teachers. They also have a teacher incentive program, to encourage the teachers to show up to class and to learn ASL. We are looking to make this a yearly trip, where we can go inspire, teach and show these children the possibilities for their futures. It is our goal that on our future trips we will not only teach and inspire, but we will be building playgrounds and dormitories at these schools as well.
Everyone Wants To Make A Difference
You can become a member of our team by making a donation to support our efforts. You will see the pictures and watch the videos taken in Ghana and be able to say -”I am a part of that! I helped make that happen!” You can donate any amount via PayPal right now or send a check to:
The Signing Time Foundation
8760 E 7145 S
Midvale UT 84047
The Signing Time Foundation is a 501c3 Non-profit Organization. Your donations are tax deductible.