Sign Language is the heart language of the Deaf community all over the world. However, access to education in their language is scarce. We believe in the bilingual model of education has allowed Deaf students succeed in not only learning different subjects in their first language, sign language, but also a second language (written), the written language of the country they reside in.
Ideally Deaf students would have access to education in the bilingual model, however that is not the case in Mexico. Many students are mainstreamed and placed in hearing classrooms with no interpreters, and with a teacher with no knowledge of sign language. The results of this are frustration, feelings of isolation, no educational input, no learning of any kind, and the loss of quality of life. Because of the no-student-can-fail policy in Mexico, Deaf students are moved up each grade level. We personally have met students that have finished 9th grade and still are illiterate, have no basic math knowledge, and struggle to find a job.
Once they enter high school, the no-fail-policy is no longer in effect, and Deaf students will have hit a wall, unable to pass, and unable to receive any higher education. Only about 0.02% of Deaf people in Mexico make it to higher education. This is only makes matters worse for a Deaf person who just wants the same opportunities afforded to any hearing individual. The ability to dream, to make something of oneself, and to succeed is truncated by the obstacles within the current education system.
Our goal as WBFG is to bridge these gaps by providing resources, and partnering with other Deaf organizations that are fighting this up-hill battle, but still moving forward non the less. These inequalities don't fix themselves, Deaf people and hearing allies have to come together to shake the status quo in order to see any change happen.
Being able to sponsor the Deaf high school class of 2018 was an honor and a blessing! The good news is that many of those have started their majors in college, but now will be facing even higher tuition fees. The Deaf college students are paying an average of 1500 pesos a month (roughly $80 dollars). Basically, that is more than a weeks worth of wages in Mexico. This is on top of the 10,500 pesos a month (around $600 dollars) a Deaf association has to raise to pay for a LSM interpreter in class in order to understand the teacher. We hope to soon start another giving campaign to sponsor the college students in order to alleviate some financial burden.
In addition, another Deaf high school class has enrolled into the same school as the graduating class of 2018. They will also be facing the same financial stress of paying double of any regular hearing student, which roughly comes out to 1500 pesos a month (around $80 dollars). In order for students to get a complete education in their native language, most of them have to pay double the tuition that regular students pay. Part of the tuition is used to pay the specialized teacher proficient in Mexican Sign Language, and the other part is to pay the school for the use of the facilities. This can be a burden for students and their families, especially when the average wage in Baja California, Mexico is $50-70 dollars a WEEK!
If you are interested in giving to these new classes or want more information, contact Lucas Everett.
Because of your giving, we had the opportunity to give $1,500 USD to the outgoing 3rd generation Deaf high school class of 2020 (Pictured on the left) by paying their last two months of tuition and all their graduation fees. This was a huge blessing for them since the ongoing pandemic has caused economic difficulties among the Deaf community in Ensenada. In addition, there was enough money leftover that we also paid two months of tuition for the 4th generation Deaf high school class still currently in school.
In order for students to get a complete education in their native language, most of them have to pay double the tuition that regular students pay. Part of the tuition is used to pay the specialized teacher proficient in Mexican Sign Language, and the other part is to pay the school for the use of the facilities. This can be a burden for students and their families, especially when the average wage in Baja California, Mexico is $70 a WEEK!
WBFG was able to raise about $2,600 dollars for the Deaf high school class in Ensenada that was set to graduate in August of 2018. This may not seem like much money to people living in the United States, but with this money we were able to do various things for the 7 students (pictured on the left) that finished:
We used a Go Fund Me campaign to raise this amount. Check it out to see more details about this graduating class and watch the video below. Thank you all who gave and partnered with us in this campaign. This is just the beginning!
Karen & Axel both just graduated high school in Ensenada, Mexico. Check out their story here!