Tuesday, April 23, 2024

A school renovation project amplifies the potential of deaf community



Living with hearing impairment presents its own set of hurdles, especially in a world where verbal communication is predominant.

In the Philippines, this challenge exacerbates an existing gap, particularly evident in the limited opportunities for the deaf in education and employment. The situation is compounded by the scarcity of secondary educational institutions tailored to their specific requirements, with financial constraints and inadequate facilities further impeding their access to education and skills development.
  

A personal advocacy 

Shery Funcion, Principal of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, is well acquainted with these obstacles.

Her commitment to this cause traces back to her college thesis, which concentrated on employment prospects for deaf students. Since then, she has actively engaged in multiple organizations and volunteered, acquiring firsthand understanding of the restricted opportunities accessible to deaf learners.

Transitioning from a Special Education (SPED) teacher, she assumed the position of principal at PSD.

"The immersive experience really showed me how important these projects are for our students—kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay ng mga pasilidad sa mga mag aaral lalo na sa mga bingi. Our deaf learners need special accommodation to fulfill their special educational needs. They need to have a conducive learning environment so we can optimize the activities and learning programs." ~Shery Funcion, the Principal of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City

She underscored the importance of providing facilities for students with hearing impairment. 
 

A facility that produces opportunities 

The collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City equips students with in-demand skills that will prepare them for employment upon graduation.


Within the century-old PSD, the senior high school laboratory building serves as the training ground for students, where classrooms and corridors, despite their age, have consistently played a crucial role in shaping and preparing deaf students for promising career paths after their PSD education.

Amidst various pressing needs within the school and the wider Philippine educational landscape, the facility struggled to secure adequate funds for necessary renovations and major repairs. Over the years, students and teachers coped with issues ranging from inadequate lighting and leaky roofs to uneven floors. These structural challenges not only posed safety concerns but also hindered the overall learning experience for students.

Funcion further noted that the collaborative project initiated in 2023 by the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI) - the philanthropic arm of the SM Group, and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City couldn't have arrived at a more opportune moment.

"The rehabilitation of the Home Economics (HE) laboratories is crucial because students need to fulfill their performance tasks. These are vital components of our senior high school program to ensure that they acquire essential skills and competencies for employment post-graduation from PSD." 
  
Thanks to the collaboration, PSD has received essential facilities for disciplines such as dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical work, bartending, food and beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.

Funcion views their Henry Sy Sr. building as a significant starting point, one that will enable equal opportunities and foster a future where the talents of deaf students will illuminate not only within but also beyond the confines of classrooms.

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