Contributions to the Development of Deaf Persons in the Dominican Republic
As the Director of Instituto de Ayuda al Sordo Santa Rosa, Inc., founded 33 years ago and dedicated to helping deaf persons in the Dominican Republic, I have always faced the lack of support to provide adequate training to our professionals on auditory and speech areas. This urgent need has been addressed only by our Institution´s own efforts.
On the other hand, due to poverty in the country, we have developed our programs with minimum financial support, resulting on restricted access to technological devices for the deaf.
In 2002, when we first got in touch with Partners for a Greater Voice, this situation begun to change rapidly thanks to the support they offered to teachers, audiometry technicians, audiologists, and administrative staff, as well as to hundreds of deaf children families, 75% of which came from very poor communities.
Partners for a Greater Voice´s collaboration with our Institution has made it possible for me, as a Director, to find a generous, timely, and high-quality response. Through their initiatives addressing specific needs, we have been able to participate actively on the design, monitoring and evaluation of programs and have always been empowered to be part of the solutions.
For the first time, through Greater Voice and their members, we have found continuity and consistency for training, not only on subjects but also in time. Our personnel has had learning experiences consistent with theory and practice through live demonstrations and videos from different organizations in the State of Massachusetts, U.S.A. During one of their projects in fall 2003, eight of our professionals traveled to Boston to see for themselves the latest techniques and approaches used with deaf children.
Over the years we have lacked educational material to work with deaf children. In response to this, Partners for a Greater Voice makes great contributions sending enough information and literature to cover our training and consulting needs. I greatly appreciate their effort in translating this material into Spanish to facilitate comprehension among our users.
Regarding special devices and training to help the deaf, thanks to Partners for a Greater Voice we now have access to new information on the latest technology being used in the United States. Also, they have donated audiometers, hearing aids and equipment, FM systems, all of which is very costly and we cannot afford.
Greater Voice makes strong emphasis on education and consciousness of families of deaf children. They have helped us understand the importance of empowering them to support their children education day by day and also have taught us new techniques to induce parents to work together with teachers in helping their children.
Finally, I would like to express my recognition to the members of Partners for a Greater Voice, for their humanity, professionalism and support to the Dominican Republic through this valuable program. Our special gratitude to Mrs. Joanne Travers, an extraordinary person who has committed her will, efforts and resources to provide more and better opportunities to train our personnel and to help deaf persons achieve social integration in our country.
My deepest appreciation to all of them.
Onelia Aybar, Director
Instituto de Ayuda al Sordo Santa Rosa
Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana
4 de febrero de 2004