Student Updates: COVID-19 (Prayers for their extreme situations, please.)
Dear Friends -
I am grateful to have the option to get regular reports from the amazing students on the other side of the world. It truly is the miracle of this age; especially during Covid-19.
There is much I would like to update you on but I will do my best to keep this succinct. Our Deaf Dreamers are going through challenges above and beyond what they deserve, but they are survivors in EVERY sense of the word.
Dreamer #7: Kelai from South Sudan
Kelai Moses is our newest Deaf Dreamer and the first from South Sudan! You can read his incredible / brave story here >> It was Patricia, Deaf Dreamer #4, who met him and recommended him for our scholarship. He is studying carpentry in Uganda at the same technical school as Phina, Deaf Dreamer #6. They were both offered free housing at the school.
COVID UPDATE: As Kelai was studying in Uganda when the virus hit and the school closed, he has been unable to cross the border back to South Sudan where his mother lives. Considering their past, I cannot imagine what emotional triggers he and his mother are having. Thankfully, he is staying with a friend and is using a laptop for school that the organization Jerry started (Deaf Dreamer #3) is loaning to him.
Dreamer #6: Phina from Uganda
You can read Phina's story here >>
COVID UPDATE: Phina's situation has been very difficult since her school closed down. She had been living at school for free; truly a blessing for her as she has no living family. Thankfully, Kelai had remained in contact with her and doing his best to help her by relaying her needs to me. She found a place to live but it is without electricity so she was unable to communicate with me or do her schooling.
Through Oryem's ever-constant help (Jerry's mentor who is a member of the disability community), we were able to get her a tablet for her schooling with a solar panel charger that allows her to use her tablet for up to 8 hours. And (Oryem's BRILLIANT idea!) a light bulb that attaches to a solar panel charger that allows her to have light all night long. I pray this helps her feel more safe! She is now doing her schooling and in regular contact with me. This tablet will be passed on to the next Deaf Dreamer when she has graduated.
Dreamer #5: Patricia from Kenya
Patricia has been an active front line for The Deaf Dream. As part of her program, she has traveled to Uganda and Tanzania to meet with the Deaf Community. She has been actively seeking for strong, potential Deaf Dreamers during her travels and connected me with Kelai and two more possible scholarship recipients from Rwanda! You can read Patricia's story here >>
COVID UPDATE: Patricia was in Tanzania when the coronavirus hit. I did not hear from her in several weeks and was no less comforted when she finally wrote to say she had been in quarantine without access to anyone until that moment. She said that the nurses were terrified of getting sick so besides taking her temperature, they avoided the patients (even though no one in her school group was sick).
When she was finally able to cross the border, she was then put in quarantine in Kenya in deplorable conditions. (Read a BBC article about it here: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52326316.) Her brother, who was working in Uganda when the virus hit, is still stuck in quarantine so she asked for prayers in his behalf. Patricia is finally home in Kenya and continuing her schooling online.
Dreamer #4: Amuge from Uganda
I have not yet heard from Amuge, though a few weeks ago Oryem reported that she was doing okay. I ask for your prayers in her behalf. You can read Amuge's story here >>
Dreamer #3: Jerry from Uganda
Merely weeks before Covid-19 hit, Jerry was able to graduate with his class! I am SO proud of him and will be posting a video of his graduation soon on our website. (Oryem was incredible to take a bus all night long to live stream the ceremony for me!) You can read Jerry's story here >>
COVID UPDATE: Jerry is at home and safe. His organization was closed along with all other businesses in Uganda. I am so grateful that he would share his organization's laptop with Kelai to allow him to continue his schooling! Jerry's mentor and friend, Oryem, has been working miracles over there in behalf of all of the students and was the one to pick up and drop off the laptop to Kelai and purchase all of the equipment Phina needed with The Deaf Dream funds. I cannot express how much he has blessed The Deaf Dream!
Dreamer #2: Victoria from Ghana
Victoria was set to graduate in June of this year. My prayer is that it can happen this year after after she has waited 4 YEARS to graduate! The blessing is that before the virus hit, she was hired on to teach at the Cape Coast Deaf School. She will be such an inspiration to each of her students and you can bet she is EAGER for the schools to open again! You can read Victoria's story here >>
COVID UPDATE: Her mentor, Emmanuel, wrote to let me know that they are safe so far and are home as the schools are closed. He said that since Ghana coronavirus cases are still increasing, they have no idea when the schools will re-open.
Dreamer #1: Khiem from Vietnam
Khiem created a video explaining Deaf rights to marry in Vietnam. If you have read my previous updates, you know how long he has been working towards this and what a miracle it is that Deaf can now marry each other. You can see his explanation video here >> and you can read Khiem's story here >>
As you can tell from this email, the Deaf Dreamers are helping each other in every way. From Kelai being actively aware of Phina to Jerry loaning their organization's laptop to Kelai to Patricia finding more Deaf Dreamers.
I don't think there is anything more beautiful for me than seeing Deaf Dreamers help each other so readily. My heart is so so grateful.
With love and prayers that each of you are safe -
Founder & CEO
$10 pays for a week of school.