By: Elise Berrett
For the past two summers, I have taught at a Deaf school in Ghana, West Africa with a non-profit organization called Signs of Hope International. In my posts, I want to give the readers a glimpse into life there, particularly related to Deaf people.
First off, I LOVE GHANA! I cherish my experiences there and I would not trade them for anything. I met many incredible Deaf people and I am honored to call them my friends. In this post, I would like to mention ten in particular: Nicholas, Shaibu, Silvia, Florence, Mariam, Moses, Benjamin, Doris, Prince, and Enoch (who is not Deaf, but has a Deaf heart). These people were interns at the school where we volunteered. They were finishing up their degrees at a nearby college and their student teaching overlapped our volunteer trip. During the time we were there, we became very close with these interns. We spent hours teaching each other about culture, discussing educational approaches, and just having fun.
The best part is that the interns were placed in different Deaf schools all across Ghana. That means there are now ten more teachers who are able to sign fluently with their students and pass on their experiences going through the Deaf education system. I have no doubt that they will all be fantastic role models. Two of them were placed where they had attended elementary and junior high school several years ago. They have become the first two Deaf teachers in the history of that school. That is groundbreaking! But that’s not all. There are more Deaf students at the same college where the interns attended who will become student teachers, and, eventually, teachers. It is exciting to think that a rising generation of Deaf teachers is developing in Ghana! I am eagerly anticipating the positive impact this will have on an educational system where Deaf students do not have full communication access with their teachers. They gave me ten more reasons to hope for a better future for Deaf people in Ghana.
Shaibu and Nicholas, the first Deaf teachers at the State School for the Deaf in Accra, Ghana.
This blog post represents the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views supported by The Deaf Dream.