Friday, 2 December 2011

Annual report from the ChangSha Deaf Centre

One of my favourite jobs is coordinating support to the Changsha Deaf centre. This has been an exciting year for the centre.
16 teachers have taken the Hunan Province teacher certificate and passed. They have also attended other training courses throughout the year. Most of the teachers are very young and work very long hours, for very little pay because the centre just does not have the money to increase their wages. As a result, teachers do become burnt out and there is a high turn over rate in the staff. Having said that, the teachers are very dedicated, it is obvious that they love the children and due to their amazing dedication the centre has gone from strength to strength.
The centre continues to hold parent training courses, which have proven popular and an effective way of helping the parents help their children.
The centre serves many families who cannot afford the school fees. For this reason, though the cost of living has increased in China, the school and boarding fees haven’t. Of course, this means that the school struggles. Teacher’s wages are low, the school itself is very basic and is in need of some desperate repairs. In fact, the centre could really do with new premises.
The school has a floor in a residential block of flats and many of the neighbours are very unhappy that the school shares their building. The school has a small outdoor area that other flats can see into. Before the children used to play there, but because neighbours used to throw things at them, they have had to stop that. Now the children do not go outside unless they are taken for a special trip to the park.

During the summer we took our three children, Natasha, Kari Sophia and Jakob to visit the Deaf centre, so that they could see what kind of work NMS does. Whilst we were there, our kids got to play with the children in the centre and both sets of children entertained each other with little shows. Our children liked meeting the kids and spending time with them. They were touched by how basic the centre was: the number of children sleeping in each room, the smell of the toilets, the food, the mouldy ceilings and the heat in the centre because they can’t afford to use aircon. We later found out that it hadn’t just been our children who had enjoyed the visit. Apparently, the children at the centre loved meeting and playing with the “foreign “ kids, talked about it for days and even told their parents how exciting it was!!
Changsha Deaf Centre has greatly benefited from your support. It literally would not be able to operate in the way it does today if it wasn’t for you who support this project. Thank you for your support! From Marieke

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