Update on COVID for our Deaf Dreamers
Dear Sponsors -
Our students' lives and education continue to be affected by COVID. I will do my best to give a short update on each of our current students and how they need our support.
Rwanda has had to be in serious lockdown this year and only just recently is seeing a slight improvement. The school schedules have shifted because of closures, but as of this morning, they will be able to do their plumbing and creative arts internships!
Esther's email this week:
I have decided to email you before we could join morning lessons. We both reported back to school safely, and all tested negative for COVID-19. Although some parts of the country especially the city and surrounding areas are still under lockdown. We are scheduled to take exams during the semester break. The exams period for this semester shall be utilized to recover the lost time during the short school lockdown to cover some topics. And also, we shall not reach home after completing the semester. We shall directly go to our various Internship sites. Also, Bonny doesn't currently have access to his email account. Each time he tries to login, it asks for verification from a phone number to her Aunt who's currently locked up in Tanzania. Unfortunately, she left the simcard in her room back in Rwanda. He is requesting if he can temporarily use another email address and when her Aunt returns, then he resumes with the usual email address.
UGANDA / SOUTH SUDAN
Our students in Uganda really need your prayers. Kelai and Scovia from South Sudan are trying to manage being away from family for an unknown length of time, Phina is trying to graduate in the midst of a harsh lockdown, and Oryem's starting date continues to be postponed (almost 2 years now + the 4-5 years he was waiting before that for his chance at a scholarship).
Oryem's email this week:
Dear Destiny and All,
How are you doing? I hope you are okay.
As you all know, I updated you some couple of days ago regarding the 42day lockdown in Uganda. During that time, the Gov't put in place the following restrictions (among others),
2-Private & Public transport
3-Closure of all education institutions
All the above mentioned were partially lifted EXCEPT the Education Sector. It's unfortunate that we shall not be able to return to school for now until the expected number of students aged 12-18 have been vaccinated. The Gov't is encouraging online learning as the only option.
Destiny, we are truly disappointed by the inconsistencies caused by these lockdowns towards our education. Please inform our sponsors that we seriously want to study and we very much appreciate all their efforts and sacrifices, ensuring that our dreams come true. Let them know that the Government is currently looking forward to ensuring that Schools that lack the online learning facilities are provided and they shouldn't get discouraged.
Thank you so much. Keep safe and may the Lord Bless you for us.
Also, Jerry, our Ugandan Deaf Dreamer who graduated right before COVID, is continuing to do work with his organization: Deaf In Action.
He is requesting support in simple, though profound ways. You can read about the work they are doing here and contact information for his organization if you'd like to help:
Our Tanzanian Deaf Dreamers are pushing forward in their studies. Again, COVID has caused delays, isolations, lock-downs and other struggles for them, but they are amazingly resilient!
I shared Rachael's miracle a few weeks ago. You will DEFINITELY want to read about her story! (Click the blue button below to go to that post.)
Rachael's email last week:
Find the attached photos of Alfred. Shows how he has been spending his holiday from home heaping potatoesfor home consumption. See from the background. These potatoes take only 2.5months to mature. Sometimes they are sliced and dried, kept in store and used when there's famine. We want to show you this when you come to TZ. Thank you.
With Patricia awaiting her eventual graduation, she has spent her time doing good!
Dear Destiny I'm sooo grateful, receiving your email. I have been here in Ajiga, Bondo, western Kenya. for the last three months, on a mission to end stigma and improve the lives of Deaf young people in the Area with Baringo Deaf Care Organization. A community Based Organization advocating for the Deaf.
BONDO is one of the many rural areas in Kenya where the Deaf are seen as a curse. They are not sent to School. Imagine growing up in a community where you can't freely communicate to anyone, No one clearly understands you, You are not allowed to play with other Children because their parents consider you different? but worse of all you use gestures instead of sign language?
We tried our best to campaign against such, and advocated for Deaf Education. At least we managed to convince at least six Families with Deaf Children to send them to School.
After here I will be going to Volunteer at Kambui School for the Deaf for grade two class. Meanwhile i wait for Education Ministry to advertise for Open positions for Deaf Teachers, so I apply.
Thank you once again. I very much appreciate you for bringing me to this level. It's through your efforts.
I have not heard much from Jennifer recently. Her schooling has been on hold for some time now due to COVID. She is, obviously, eager to get started but we do not know when that will be.
Thank you to all of you who have specifically donated during COVID. These students are navigating more than "just" getting their education so my goal is to make sure they do not have to worry about their scholarships at least! All of the changes have required more funding than usual to cover PPE, quarantine, semester restarts, etc. Every dollar truly helps!
God bless each of you,