Deaf Action runs a dormitory in Bacolod, supporting the Visayas region. Originally providing accommodation for up to 40 Deaf students who come from remote villages where there are no schools for the Deaf, it currently operates as a boarding house, limited by government regulations to about 8 students. Deaf students stay at these dormitories and attend a government school that caters for the Deaf at a Special Education (SPED) Centre. The dormitory leaders are Deaf themselves and give loving care to the students 24 hours a day.
VISAYAS SELF-SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS
An organic farm runs as a self-sustainable project at Zamboanguita on the south coast of Negros Island where vocational training in farm skills is offered. Fruit trees, a vegetable garden, and a piggery are overseen by a couple from Canada and a DeafBlind man and his family who work there. It is hoped that this project will give training to Deaf people and provide income to support the dormitories and self-help projects in the future.
Bicol Deaf Action (Formerly The Fishermen of Christ Learning Center) (K – 12)
Bicol Deaf Action in Ligao started 40 years ago and provides kindergarten to college education for Deaf children and young adults. About 61 Deaf students attend this school. The school owns a jeepney, which is typical of the unique colourful buses that are used in the Philippines. It provides transport for students and school excursions. Students who live too far away from school to travel daily, stay in the dormitory and travel home at the weekend. The Mayan Volcano overlooks this school and has caused severe damage in the Bicol area over the years. Bad typhoons also occur in this part of the Philippines. Our main building was replaced and other buildings have been repaired after volcanic eruptions and typhoons hit the school. Our building is now recognised as the Evacuation Centre for the area.
LIGAO SELF-SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS
This school also has sustainability projects including rice fields and a farm with pigs, chickens and plantations of coconut trees, avocados and other vegetable crops and operates a shop where the produce is sold. It also has a rice mill for processing the rice. Farm workers live at the school and manage the farm. This supports the school and provides food for students in the dormitory. They also offer small business training for students who have graduated from the high school, and offer business start-up loans which the students pay off as their businesses become viable. This farm also provides an opportunity for older students to gain vocational training in farming and animal husbandry. Some graduates have completed further studies and become teachers of the Deaf themselves. Past students from the school have started Deaf communities in this area where Deaf people support each other at difficult times throughout their lives.
Bicol Deaf Action also receives short term mission teams who would like to experience a DMI school firsthand and contribute to the work involved.
Ministry in the Philippines
DMI has 21 churches for the Deaf around the Philippines ministering to 500 Deaf every week. 10 of these are in the Visayas provinces serving almost 300 members of the Deaf community and 9 Deaf churches serve the Bicol province ministering to 200 Deaf members. Two churches serve the Deaf in Davao, toward the south of the Philippines. The largest church, the Philippines Immanuel Church of the Deaf, Bacolod, has over 50 members and has been running for 20 years. The Deaf pastors, uniting under IDEAP (Immanuel Deaf Evangelists Association, Philippines) regularly meet for support and training.