PLANTING THE SEEDS. HOW IT ALL BEGAN.
In 1961, two Filipinos-sponsored American missionaries arrived to bring God's message of love to the Filipino deaf. Upon arrival, Rev. Ada Mable Coryell, found the hearing disabled largely illiterate,most having never studied nor learned any language at all.
They soon discovered that the Filipino deaf possessed general aptitude for learning. Yet, these people have nor been taught any standard or systematic sign language to express themselves effectively.
The only goverment school for the deaf experienced difficulty in meeting the needs of the hearing impaired prompting the missionaries to communicate with the deaf to introduce the Gospel to them. The structured classes of the Deaf Evangelistic Alliance Foundation, Inc. (DEAF, Inc.) was formed in 1969 to formally educate the Filipino deaf
In 25 years, DEAF, Inc. has slowly acquired land now totalling 87 hectares in Paowin, Cavinti, Laguna, about thirty kilometers southeast of Manila to develop for the deaf.
To reach the elevated campus from the nearest passable road, one must cross a lake, hiking 3.5 kilometers, 300 meters above water level. Fruits trees now abound in the area cultivated by the students in their effort for self-sustenance. Patches of vegetation also promise a supply of fresh food.
Hand-hewn lumber from land-clearing provided ample materials to build classrooms, dormitories, and furniture blending modern architecture with a touch of nature.
Up there, fresh dew, warm sunlight and excited bird calls herald an active dawn as cool dusk, quiet star shines and crisp cricket shrill welcome a restful night.
Today we are housing 160 students enrolled from basic school to college levels, including those in extension classes. Beyond the classroom, students keep themselves busy working in the fishpond, in rice paddies, poultry and swine projects, and vegetable gardens.
They also construct school building, dormitories and an airstrip for continuous airlifting of supplies to the campus.
We are currently developing higher academic standards to better equip our graduates for more challenging tasks to reach the Filipino deaf.
Foreign text books, though helpful in many ways, do not meet Filipino curricular needs. We need to augment our teaching aids for Bible, Science and other subjects beyond the limitation of the chalk board.
VISSION AND DREAMS FOR TOMORROW
In 1990, we launched the "Community-based Rehabilitation Program for the Deaf" to reach the Filipino deaf in remote areas of the country involving community churches, schools, the private and public sectors, and public sectors, and families of these students to build their academic and social needs
We aim to introduce our program in various cities and towns by opening more learning centers. We provide teachers, technical knowlegde, Christian workers, textbools and visual aids, while the natives prepare classrooms, dormitories and other necessities.
Family members and interested individuals are taught the basic sign language to enhance communication between the disabled and their friends and relatives to prepare the deaf for formal education in special classes in public schools.
Thus far, only eight hectares of these vast reserve have been manually cleared, irrigated and seeded for produce, barely meeting the nutritional requirements of the students.
Airlifting of medical supplies and emergency cases requiring immediate clinical attention have been curbed since the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The vital services of the US Air Force have also ceased when the US military bases in the country closed
All these, plus a lot more, need prompt attention to sustain the Filipino deaf in Our School only. Thousand of other disabled Filipinos scattered all over the archipelago have higher needs for their survival.
THE SOUND OF CARING AND CONCERN IS A SOUND EVEN THE DEAF CAN HEAR.
Under God's rule of propagation, every Christian's duty is to make another Christian in spiritual reproduction. With this, the educated Filipino deaf forsees the challenge to reach and support others like themselves in the country.
The rising cost of prime commodities, the desire to reach members of this unique population, and the need to develop more relevant teaching aids add up to spell our urgent appeal for your assistance.
Today's DEAF students and our upgrading programs are suffering from a sharp decline of funding from here and abroad.
We do not want to see our labor in the mountains for 25 years grind down the slopes because of deficient support in prayers and finances. We refuse to believe that the duty to reproduce deaf Christians should be curtailed due to lack of information and concern from the able in our community of believers. The need cannot be over-emphasized. Your support cannot be under-estimated.