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Easy-to-Read 2019 Student Updates + TONS of Photos!

Dear friends - I wanted to reach out in this Christmas season and share with you the miracles that I am seeing with our Deaf Dreamers. I know you don't have a lot of time so I tried to structure this year's update to be easy-to-read. (With TONS of photos! :) )

PHINA - Uganda

Dream: Open a Deaf tailoring training centre to teach skills and provide work for others in her Deaf community.

Her Story: She was accepted into a college with her parents' support. Shortly after starting her parents were murdered in a robbery. She has been loading and selling water to survive. She began studying at a tailoring technical school in 2019. MORE >

Quote: "I'm already enjoying. It's nice connecting with my fellow deaf and also hearing students. This is a new life. Thank you. God bless you."

Update: Phina is finishing her 1st semester! You can already see in the photos above (from left to right) her confidence growing as she learns practical tailoring skills and has consistent (and free!) food and housing from the college.

Years: 2019 - Present

Education Cost: $215 per semester


Dream: Start a bilingual / bicultural Deaf school. (Kenyan Sign Language + English)

Her Story: Patricia reached out to me multiple times asking for a scholarship. She has been very involved in her church and Deaf communities. Her brother agreed to pay for her housing and her church congregation fundraised money for transportation, provided her with a mattress and blanket for the dormitory, as well as sugar and soap each semester. MORE >

Update: Patricia just got back from spending a couple of months in Uganda as part of her education. (See central photo above.) She met with another Deaf Dreamer, Phina, and is learning shoemaking at Phina's school for a couple of weeks. Shoes are very expensive in Kenya, so she is excited to start a small business and train a few Deaf shoemakers. They can produce and sell to market vendors from home (keeping down production costs).

Quote: "I have been able to meet Phina in their Institute and also...another Deaf Institute about 70Km away from Kenya-Uganda border... It was an amazing experience sharing with fellow Deaf from a different country. We shared a lot of issues pertaining our Education and career. I learned a lot of new things from Uganda. I can't forget my experience with 'Odii' (peanut butter) which is in abundant in the country."

Years: 2018 - Present (Graduates January 2021)

Education Cost: $400 per semester

AMUGE - Uganda

Dream: Start an international Deaf organization in Africa to address common issues such as misdiagnosing deafness as a mental illness or intellectual disability.

Her Story: Amuge's family has very limited income with many children. Even though she was admitted into college, they used their money to pay for the education of her other siblings rather than hers. "Their education have been taken a priority. I do not know why but sometimes I think its because of my disability." MORE >

Update: Amuge is coming up on her last year of school! She has been studying Industrial Arts which includes business administration and project management courses. She recently completed an internship for Pearl of Africa Arts.

Years: 2018 - Present (Graduates June 2020)

Education Cost: $300 per semester

JERRY - Uganda

Dream: Establish an Arts and Graphics Center to empower people with disabilities by training and employing them.

His Story: Jerry is an incredible artist. His (unofficially) adopted brother and mentor, Oryem, helped him apply for a scholarship. MORE >

Mentor's Quote: "I'm also happy [Jerry] is trying to follow up on his dream of improving the lives of the Deaf and proving it to his community that the Deaf also have value despite the local beliefs. ...My biggest regards to you [donors] for having considered him for the scholarship. Without you, he wouldn't have moved this long journey. You are the reason for this big dream. May the Good Lord bless you and The Deaf Dream for this wonderful program."

Update: Jerry has completed his course work and will graduate next month! This last year (while still in school!) he started an organization called "Deaf In Action" which trains and will one day employ members of his Deaf community. Amuge's mentor wrote me saying, "It's amazing how people are surprised about Jerry's initiative. He has become the 'talk of the community'." (Most recent photo, second from the left.)

Years: 2017 - 2020

Education Cost: $300 per semester GRADUATES IN JANUARY!


Dream: Become a teacher at a Deaf school.

Her Story: Victoria lost both of her parents when she was young. She would have been unable to finish primary school if it weren't for Emmanuel, a teacher at her Deaf school, who noticed that she was "smart, curious, hardworking, brilliant" and decided to pay for her to be able to attend high school. He and his family adopted her as their own but were unable to pay for her college education. A friend of mine, Elise, was volunteering in Ghana at the time and connected me to Victoria and Emmanuel. MORE >

Quotes: "I am doing great by the grace." "I would like to say BIG thank you for supporting me. I am really appreciated of you."

Update: Victoria has completed her student teaching (far right photo), competed in France as the only female contender in the Ghanaian Deaf Volleyball Team (top photo, second from left), taken her National Teaching Exam, and completed all her course work!

AND I FOUND OUT A FEW DAYS AGO THAT SHE WAS ASSIGNED TO TEACH IN THE CAPE COAST DEAF SCHOOL. SHE HAS A JOB!!! (And each of her students and fellow hearing teachers will see her example every single day. What a glorious thing!)

Years: 2016 - 2020 Education Cost: $350 per semester GRADUATES IN JUNE!

KHIEM - Vietnam

Dream: Get a degree to expand his influence as a leader in the Vietnamese Deaf community.

His Story: I have shared his story multiple times. So rather than re-tell it all here, please click "more." Khiem and I met the first time while I was visiting Vietnam with Semester at Sea. He had tried to go to university for many, many years. I founded The Deaf Dream so we could sponsor Khiem (and hopefully others, eventually). Everything Khiem learned in school, he would teach to the 350+ members of the Deaf organization he and his mother founded. MORE >

Update: Khiem continues to amaze me! Since graduating, he continues to be interviewed by the Vietnamese media regularly, puts on activities (see far right collage photos) and teaches (far left bottom photo) in his Deaf organization, led out on a MASSIVE disability conference; coordinating efforts between many different disability groups to petition for basic rights. (The right for two people with disabilities to marry, the right to drive, etc.) And in a sweet way, he has come full circle by now teaching Southern Vietnamese Sign Language at the SAME university that took him so much hard work to attend! (Top photo, Khiem in the center surrounded by his hearing students.)

Years: 2013 - 2015 Education Cost: $200 per semester GRADUATED!

You'll be happy to learn:

- We have received sufficient (and more!) donations to cover our students so far. There are two, possibly three, students who we may sponsor next year. One of these Deaf Dreamers would be from South Sudan (incredible yes?) as he left his country in civil war (with no Deaf schools) and came to Uganda to study.

- We have also received specific (and generous!) donations from three people, Tim, Rene, and Dewey, who know how much work goes on behind the scenes and offered to cover our low overhead costs as well as students. Such a blessing!

- The emails I send you, my dear friends, are simply for your enjoyment. Please know they are not to make you feel pressured to donate if you are not in a position to. God has been truly in the details and is taking care of this little nonprofit, don't you worry! :) And I always love to hear from you if you have a moment!

I just hope you enjoy reading about the impact your support (financial or otherwise) has had on each of these students and on me!

Merry CHRIST-mas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and a reeeeeeeally late Ramadan Mubarak to my Muslim friends. :) Thank you for being part of each miracle! Destiny

P.S. And...for those of you wondering, yes this is the email I sent out a couple of weeks ago. But several people mentioned to me that it got lost in the #GivingTuesday mayhem so I decided to resend. :) --------------------- Destiny Yarbro Founder & CEO


Go to and select The Deaf Dream to be your nonprofit.

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