Program accomplishments

a. Scholarship program (Calbayog)

At present there are 23 deaf scholars enrolled in Christ the King College. There are 10 in elementary and 5 in high school. All of them are supported by mean of free tuition fee, educational materials, uniform to those who cannot afford it and transportation subsidy especially to those who are residing in far flung barangay. A free ride in school bus was also granted by the school president for other deaf scholars. There is an increase in number of enrollees for this school year because there were new applicants referred by Christ the King Community Extension Office. There are new deaf scholars who need a more focused teaching because of their special needs.

b. Literacy Class (Calbayog)

In this school year, the new students of Literacy class are 5 years old deaf children who were discovered during the hearing test activity. The purpose of this is to give the deaf children early education and introducing to them natural signs as their main tool of communication which is very effective at their age. The class is being handled by a Deaf teacher who uses visual gestural communication as medium of teaching. A transportation subsidy and educational materials are also provided for two children and their parent as well accompanies them from home to school everyday. Within two quarters, there are many developments seen about the two children. They can communicate naturally with their mothers who used to be with them everyday and can follow simple command of their teacher.

c. Literacy Class in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan

Literacy class in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan aims to teach basic Filipino Sign Language to Deaf children and adult who were never given a chance to study. Deaf people who were hiding themselves at home because they have no access to education. This program is being handled by Deaf staff. This program is being supported by the parish administration of Sta. Teresita. At present, the ages of participants in Literacy class are ranging from 6-42 years old.

d. Filipino Sign Language Interpreter’s Training

The Filipino Sign Language study sought to provide basic training on Mass interpreting and Level 1 of FSL for committed individuals who would like to spend precious time in the service of the Deaf people. The selection of participants is based on the recommendation of the parishes and some individuals who are actively participating in PSFADC mission. The training started on April 17, 2010 and ended on May 24, 2010. The first part of the training which lasted for two weeks was focused on Mass interpreting and the second part was on Level 1 of Filipino Sign language. The training was rigid and all participants were required to refrain from using verbal language in order to respect the culture of the Deaf. Adopting the culture of silence is the best way to understand Deaf language.

The two parts of the training were facilitated by Fr. Hozo Sato, OFM, Josephine dela Peña and Mary Jane Puson, a Deaf volunteer from the Philippine Federation of the Deaf. The first part of the training was handled by Fr. Sato and Josephine while the level 1 FSL licensee course was handled by Ms. Puson.

During the first two weeks of the seminar, there were six participants who actively completed all the session on mass interpreting. Three of them were from General Santos City. They were recommended by Maria Goretti Home for Girls, an institution run by the sisters. They are Nikki de Felipe, Nova Liquit and Debbie Malig-on. These three participants had some exposure to Deaf community before they were sent for training. They are joining Deaf mass in their parish and at the same time they know alphabet sign. Ariel M. Velarde a participant from Tacloban City was recommended by the Parents of the Deaf because of his commitment to interpret for the Deaf especially during Sunday masses. He has knowledge on American Sign Language but not enough on Filipino Sign Language and mass interpreting. This training added his knowledge and gave him an opportunity to harness his skills in interpreting. From Calbayog City, there were two who joined the training. One of them is Mrs. Cristita Nazareno, a mother of a Deaf child and Mr. Mario Cagomoc, a volunteer of PSFADC. After the mass interpreting session, the Level 1 course of Filipino Sign Language followed. Mr. Ariel Velarde did not join the Level 1 course but instead, Ritchie Sabulao the daughter of one of PSFADC Board member who has a deaf brother joined the said training. All the participants successfully passed the level 1 of FSL and secured a certificate from Philippine Federation of the deaf that was signed by their president and FSL instructor Mary Jane Puson.

The training was conducted in Philippine St. Francis of Assisi Deaf Center, Carayman, Calbayog City, Western Samar. The center provided free food and accommodation during the entire training. The newly renovated visual room was used as the main session hall of the participants.

The instructor of the Level 1 Filipino Sign Language course completed the 90 hours session. The participants completed the 90 hours session and made sure to pass the examination before they were able to secure the certificate. The participants religiously followed the time set by the instructor whenever they have a session because time matters a lot in learning Filipino Sign Language. The lessons were composed of Basic FSL words and grammar, dialogue with the Deaf teacher and classmates in FSL, Basic Visual Gestural communication and Deaf buddy activity wherein they were given a chance to be with a deaf person and practice their sign in a dialogue.

The Instruction on Mass Interpreting did not require number of hours to be completed. This training focused on signing parts of the mass from the liturgy of the word to the liturgy of the Eucharist. The instructor, Fr. Hozo Sato, OFM challenged each participant to explore their ideas on how to understand each word and express it in sign language. It involves not merely signing the word but reflecting upon the message of the word to be conveyed. They were given readings and each of them was instructed to write a simple translation of those readings to express it in sign language in a simple but understandable way.

Before the mass interpreting training ended, there was an evaluation conducted by Fr. Hozo Sato, Ms. Lovella Borja, and Josephine dela Peña. Mr. Ariel Velarde and Mario Cagomoc’s tasked was to interpret a recorded mass in “TAGALOG”. Other participants signed the complete parts of the mass. Only Ariel Velarde were able to pass the mass interpreting skills training but other participants were also challenged to practice their skill during Sunday mass.

In the beginning of the training, the participants were having hard time in understanding the nature of Filipino Sign Language especially for the beginners. Three of the participants from Tacloban and Calbayog have simple background on Sign Language but the other three from General Santos City have no enough knowledge in FSL vocabulary. Their adjustment period was quite hard for them especially that they have to keep their mouth in silence and express even in gesture anything they want to say. All of them patiently attended all the session especially during the Level 1 course of FSL.

Their coping capacity varies on their level of adjustment. Some of them learned fast at the start of the training but some didn’t able to adjust easily especially in communicating with the Deaf. All of them passed the Level 1 of FSL course but not all of them passed the evaluation of Mass interpreting.

These training was successful because all participants are cooperative and PSFADC staff shared tasks in order to facilitate the training smoothly. The spirit of friendship, brotherhood and sisterhood was enriched during the training. It was really a good and fulfilling experience because each of them went home happy bringing the joy of having a chance to learn sign language.

e. Filipino Sign Language Study for Parents of PSFADC Clients

This project started on January 11, 2010 up to present. The sign language class for parents is conducted every Saturday and Wednesday. It is a very helpful project because parents are able to communicate with their deaf children even in simple ways or through finger spelling. In this way also, parents can teach their children especially for those who are in elementary level some signs which they did not yet learn from school. There are some parents who cannot religiously attend all session because of responsibilities at home but there are some who shows their interest to learn how to communicate with their children. A transportation subsidy is provided especially to parents who are coming from far flung areas.

f. Hearing Test for the Deaf and people with hearing difficulty in Calbayog City

This test was conducted on March 2, 2010. It was attended by 81 deaf people and persons with ear defects. An Educational and Clinical Audiologist volunteered their service for these people. There were some deaf adults who never experienced a hearing test since they are still babies because of their poor economic condition and parents’ lack of awareness. It was a free hearing test and parents of the deaf are very thankful because it was also an eye opener on their part because they learned how to give an extra care to their children especially to those who have defective eardrums.

Other Significant Information

The founder/president of PSFADC continues to preside Eucharistic celebration for the Deaf every 1st Sunday of the month at St. Joseph church, Quezon City. It’s said in Filipino Sign Language without voice-spoken. Hearing people might feel strange to hear it but this is the deaf way of life. Fr. Sato provided visual devices in order to deliver his homily effectively.

Two of the Deaf members had a chance to study English and Filipino in a Christian Language Study Center on the month of April and May while on deaf enrolled a vocational course and had her On the Job Training in PSFADC Manila. This project aimed not only improvement in English of the deaf but also to prove that Hearing English teacher who never learned sign language can teach the deaf through writing communication which is also effective on the part of the deaf. After their studies, they were challenged to continue what they have learned through practicing a habit of writing communication in English.

At present there are three Deaf scholars who are presently studying in Sta. Teresita Cagayan and Tugegarao City. They are supported by means of free tuition fee for the whole year. The teacher in charge is always giving feedbacks about the academic development of these deaf and their parents as well are cooperative in terms of their education.

This coming November 7-13, 2010 a Deaf Awareness week will be celebrated with a theme “Be a part…not apart”. Every year, all schools for the deaf are mandated by the Department of Education to celebrate this event in order to heighten the awareness of the people about the existence of the deaf community in a society. The Philippine St. Francis of Assisi Deaf Center together with the cooperation of the two schools will facilitate some activities to make the whole week a meaningful celebration for all deaf people of Calbayog City. The celebration will launch with a Eucharistic Celebration at the Cathedral. For the entire week, there are series of activities to be conducted. There will be a parade and an opening program and the deaf will perform a doxology and a tableau during the flag ceremony in the City Hall. During the press conference, representatives from SPED Center, Christ the King College, PSFADC, a Deaf person and one parent of the Deaf will be invited for an interview. There will also be academic contests, ball games, field demonstration, open house exhibit of the deaf art works, Sign language literacy, symposium on health education and a variety show wherein deaf people will perform dance and drama.

June 22, 2010

PSFADC Hosted the ABSNET (Area Based Standard Network) 2nd Quarter Meeting

It was a meeting facilitated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office Standards Unit Head with all the Non-Government Organizations in Region VIII. Participants were composed of different agency heads from provinces of Western, Norther and Eastern Samar as well as province of Leyte. PSFADC housed almost 30 persons for overnight stay.

On this remarkable day also, a certificate of registration and license to operate was awarded to the Philippine St. Francis of Assisi Deaf Center implementing community based program in the whole area of region VIII. This license is valid for 3 years. The PSFADC head, the social worker and other members of the board were present during the awarding of certificate.

September 16-17, 2010

The Social Worker, Ms. Ana Joy Awit, RSW attended the 3rd quarter meeting of ABSNET in Borongan, Eastern Samar. On the first day of the meeting, there were some inputs regarding child welfare, gender sensitivity and the importance of implementing child laws in running a residential facility. On the second day of the meeting several concerns in accreditation and registration were discussed through sharing of experiences by agency. On September 23, 2010 the social worker attended also a technical assistance on case management session by the DSWD Standards Unit Head wherein, each participant brought a sample case study and discussed each part of it. The facilitator also highlighted what are the areas of concern when one agency is applying for the accreditation.

November 7-13, 2010 Deaf Awareness Week Celebration

Every year, the Department of Education is giving mandate to all private and public schools to celebrate a Deaf Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “BE A PART, NOT APART”. The Calbayog City SPED Center, Christ the King College and the Philippine St. Francis of Assisi Deaf Center coordinate with each other in order to plan all the activities for a whole week celebration.

The celebration started on November 7, 2010 through a Eucharistic Celebration in Cathedral. On November 8, the Deaf pupils and students joined the Flag Ceremony of Calbayog City employees in the city hall. The Deaf pupils from Calbayog City SPED Center rendered an interpretative dance during the doxology and the deaf students of Christ the King College, signed the National Anthem. All people were amazed of their presence because there are some sectors in the city that are not yet aware of the presence of the Deaf in Calbayog. After the flag ceremony there was a parade in the entire city and it was supported by the drum and bugle corps of Christ the king college. There was an opening program held at the Calbayog City SPED center wherein, the principal of the school showed her active support for the deaf students.

On November 9, 2010 there was a scheduled press conference to be attended by the teachers of the deaf school, one Deaf in the person of Angela Patagoc (PSFADC vice president) and one parent of the Deaf. The schedule of the press conference was moved to November 23, 2010 because of conflicts in the schedule. During the press conference the success of the activities were discussed.

On November 10, 2010 an open house exhibit was presented in the Deaf building of Christ the King College. All paintings and art materials made by the Deaf pupils and students were displayed and they invited regular students to come and see their piece of art. The principal of elementary and High School department cut the ribbon and there were also visitors from media who witnessed the event. The press interviewed the teacher of the deaf as to how they handle deaf students. In the afternoon, the Deaf students divided themselves into group and reached out some classes in high school and elementary to teach basic sign language. The regular students enjoyed their teaching and they were able to learn simple greetings.

On November 11, 2010 there was a symposium on Health Education for the parents who have deaf children. This topic was suggested because of the findings during the Hearing Test on February 2010 conducted by PSFADC that most of the parents are not aware on how to take care of the health and hygiene of their children. The CKC school nurse was the main speaker of the said symposium.

On November 12, all Deaf students spent their time in order to practice their presentation for the variety show. Parents of the Deaf were very supportive because they have provided their children different costumes and they are always present during the practice.

November 13, 2010 was the highlight of the celebration because Deaf pupils and students showed their skills and talents through a variety show which they performed in the park. There were interpretative dance, folk dances, modern dance, pop dance, ballroom dance and special numbers from some supportive individuals who joined the Deaf people in their celebration. The local city social welfare development office head as well as the chairman on committee of street children and Differently Abled showed their support for the deaf through attending the affair and giving their messages.

The celebration of the deaf awareness week is indeed a successful one because of the support coming from some individuals who willingly extended their help in order to make this celebration meaningful. All deaf people are also happy because they were given a chance to prove their worth and their capacities and their existence in the community were given importance.

November 14, 2010 (Deaf Counseling Seminar)

The social worker attended a seminar on Deaf counseling which was facilitated by one of the Deaf group in Manila. It was a whole day sharing of some cases encountered by some deaf counselors in handling their clients and some inputs on how to handle proper counseling. It was attended by Deaf Counselors and deaf volunteers from different deaf organization. It was a very helpful experience on the part of the social worker because she got an idea what is the proper way of handling deaf cases of different situations which is very different from handling hearing people. Principles in interpreting applied in deaf counseling were also discussed properly.

On December 12, 2010 all deaf scholars and parents are planning to hold a Christmas party. It is already part of the tradition of PSFADC to gather all deaf and their parents for a simple socialization to celebrate Christmas. Before the party, all Deaf will going to attend a mass at Poor Claire Monastery and proceed to Deaf Center for a simple gathering and exchange gift among the scholars.