Immanuel School for the Deaf at Kalay, on the border of the Chin State, near India, was started in 2005 and is the only school for the deaf for hundreds of kilometres. More than 25 children from the surrounding villages attend this residential school. There are also 2 boys who attend a school for the deaf in Yangon. The school syllabus and exams are set by the local government hearing school, and our children are achieving very good results even compared with the hearing children. They are so happy to go to a school and have deaf friends. These students live a very simple life and their Christmas celebration is usually a fishing trip. The school has a board of local people who contribute to decision making for the school.

A new building was opened in 2012, providing better classrooms that don’t leak when it rains! It was a wonderful celebration. Some students in local costumes stood holding the balloons for nearly an hour while the guests arrived. It was a beautiful sight to see the balloons rise up into the sky after the ribbon was cut. A new dining room and a kitchen with fireproofing around the open fireplaces was also completed. The cooking area is much safer now. The school is fortunate to have a well for water in the school grounds and a bath house is being erected but there is no hot water! Washing is Myanmar style with soaping up and rinsing off using jugs of cold water.

There are many deaf adults in this area who have never been to school. So, signing classes have been started for them in a village where the deaf people had no knowledge of Myanmar Sign Language. One of our teachers who is deaf himself, travels by motorbike to the village each weekend and teaches signing, good health, nutrition and child care. They have learned to sign and are becoming a deaf community that can communicate with each other. A rice field has been purchased to help finance this school in the future.

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