The 2017 school year is off and running! Over the summer break (that’s December in Fiji), two teams were sent out to the islands of Koro and Vanua Levu in search of unschooled deaf children. Many people have been praying that God would bring us the unschooled deaf children of Fiji. But the teams ran into bad weather, and came back without any children. We learned again however, that God is in control. This year, it is the parents who are bringing their deaf children to us. Eleven have come, just this January; our largest new group ever! A few are pictured here: (left to right), Payal, age 12, Joshua, age 5, Alexander, age 6, Gloria and Eremasi, both age 4, and Penieli, age 5. Not pictured are Grace, age 8, John, age 10, Setareki, age 13, and Amele, age 12. Another boy, age 15, just transferred from another school that has no services for the deaf.
We hope to have all of the new students sponsored soon. If interested, contact us at mcooney821"at"gmail"dot"com or on our website at www.fijideaf.net.
In our 16 years in Fiji, it has been rewarding to see deaf youngsters go through our program, then on to high school or vocational programs with interpreters, and settle into careers. Several have come back to GSD to work as teachers or school staff, hostel workers, and adult deaf ministry and youth leaders. Others have gone on to work in hotels or bakeries, or work in graphic design, child care, or computers, and a few have gone on to university. God has richly blessed, through the faithfulness of our many sponsors, prayer partners, volunteers, churches and assemblies, embassies, rotary club, and individual donors. We are grateful to all who continue to help in so many ways.
This year’s staff is now in place, with one new teacher, Losana (left), a retired Gospel School kindergarten teacher, who previously taught hearing children for many years.
Connor Wilson (right center), a student volunteer from New York, arrived in January. He’ll be with us for the first term, helping out in the Senior boys hostel. He is also a teacher assistant at school, and enjoys photography.
We are also excited to have a former colleague at The Rhode Island School for the Deaf joining us for a second time in March, to mentor teachers for a month. Bridgett Parsons (left) came to GSD in 2007 and did a great job working with teachers, and sharing her years of experience in deaf education and preschool curriculum. She also put on a workshop for parents. We look forward to her visit!