On February 17, 2014, Deeper Missions Executive Director, Derek Reinhard, and other volunteers met with representatives from Gallaudet University to discuss internship and volunteer opportunities for students. During the meeting, Derek presented a recap of our work and ongoing projects to Ms. Deborah Moore, Career Center Coordinator, and Karen Cook, Career Center Director of Gallaudet University.
Derek observed that Gallaudet was the first school dedicated to the advanced education of the deaf and hard of hearing in the world, “We really wanted to reach out to students here and let them know what opportunities are available to connect with deaf students half-way across the world, and to explore partnering options with the university. Together we could increase making a positive impact on the deaf community in Sierra Leone.”
During the meeting, Derek presented challenges faced by the deaf community in Sierra Leone and highlighted the limited resources available to assist deaf students in obtaining employment skills for independent living. The Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf is one of only three schools in the entire country that provides specialized education and vocational training for deaf students. In 2012, to increase support for the school, Deeper Missions founded its Hope for Kakua (H4K) program.
Workshop participant gets coaching on basic sign language
Senior Advisor to the Hope for Kakua program, Becky Rock, and Deeper Missions Board Member, Michelle DeFreese, also contributed to the meeting with Gallaudet staff. Becky Rock, a teacher at Frost Middle School in Fairfax, VA has worked with deaf communities in Sierra Leone for the past three years. “ASL is used from the start at the Ebert Kakua School for the Deaf because the only learning resources they had when the school was founded were a few ASL study guides and books, enabling students from Gallaudet to communicate with staff and students at the school without a language barrier.”
Becky Rock’s experience in deaf education has been integral to the recent expansion of the H4K. As a result of the growing need for the program, Deeper Missions is currently recruiting a Hope for Kakua Program Manager who will oversee the development and coordination of activities focused on deaf education.
Deeper Missions organizes volunteer trips to Sierra Leone to work on projects ranging from deaf education, WASH, and sustainable development, in addition to providing volunteer opportunities for graduate students and other adults. Deeper Missions also encourages letters of interest from deaf and disabled students. For more information on volunteer opportunities and how to join our 2014/2015 trip, contact us at info (at ) deepermisisons.org.