Yesterday we made our yearly visit to the Purwanchal School for the Deaf/Hearing-Impaired in Dharan, Nepal. TRIFC has been sponsoring 20 children there yearly (thank you, sponsors!) and in addition we’ve provided many other upgrades- kitchen supplies, dormitory needs, educational supplies, computers and much more!

We also took along another sponsored college student by the name of Sanila from another nearby city. She has a physical disability with her right foot. She had never visited a school for the deaf before and was taken not only by the warmth of the students, but by their capabilities. She watched as they communicated in Nepali sign language, went through many complicated dance routine and showcased their knowledge and abilities much as any other, non-deaf student would.

After the dance program Sanila suddenly broke down crying. Many of the girls ran up to her, surrounding her, hugging her and questioning in sign-language why was she crying? She answered that she was overwhelmed and that previously, she had no idea what the deaf/hearing-impaired were capable of. It was a revelation for her, as it would be for many people to discover that just because you have a disability such as deafness, that doesn’t mean you are any less able as a student, or a human being. This kind of one-to-one interaction helps bridge the gap that creates barriers to understanding.

Sanila soon stopped crying. Then, when it was time to leave she broke down again and didn’t want to go. She had made so many new friends it was difficult to ‘pry’ her away. She made many tearful goodbyes and then headed off with her mother. I’m sure she’ll be back soon to see all of her new friends!