What happens when the people you want to help aren’t seen as worthy of help?
This summer, I had the privilege of travelling to Montego Bay, Jamaica to lead a Board retreat for the Jamaican Christian School for the Deaf and Servant’s Heart Jamaica. Both are amazing nonprofit organizations doing mighty work.
The country is beautiful (what tropical island isn’t?) but I was struck by the sheer poverty that most people faced. My guide told me that I probably saw more of the true island that 90% of the people who visit Jamaica. Apparently, when you stay inside the walls of the resorts, it’s a different experience than when you visit downtown.
I marveled at the way the staff of the Deaf School did so much with so little. Sophia, the school’s Director is fiercely dedicated to the children. She has personally adopted a couple of kids and she has dedicated her life to doing everything she can for the others.
One of the cultural differences that was a bit shocking to me was the lack of accommodations for people with disabilities in Jamaica. No wheelchair accessibility, no Braille, etc. In some of the stories I heard about the kids at the school, it sounded like their families viewed them as a burden and they were considered ‘throwaway.’ Still other stories indicated that not all the children were born deaf – some suffered untreated ear infections as babies that cost them their hearing.
So much sadness. And yet these kids and their teachers were so happy to be at the Deaf School. I couldn’t help but fall in love with it all!
I returned home with a renewed sense of how much STUFF we have as Americans and how much access to stuff we have. If you want a box of nails, you have 5 or 6 choices of stores within a short distance, and each store has many choices. Not so in Jamaica. With most everything being imported to the island, choices are limited and prices are high. Couple that with the limited job opportunities, and the high poverty becomes understandable.
The hardest thing for me was to hear that the Deaf School is experiencing a hardship. Support has been down recently, and they are operating with a deficit. I saw a note from Sophia recently where she said there is literally no food in the cupboards and the teachers haven’t been paid.
Their monthly budget is just under $14,000 per month. Can you imagine running a school for 45 kids, with teachers, staff, vehicles, facilities costs, and more on that small amount? I’m telling you, they are excellent at managing money!
I want to try to help them increase their monthly support, so I share this story with you as fundraising inspiration, and I’m asking for your help. If you’d like to join me in changing the future for a throwaway child by giving the gift of education, please go to www.missiondiscovery.org and designate your gift to Jamaican Christian School for the Deaf.
For about $10 a day, you can provide the gift of a bright future to a child who desperately needs it. Won’t you join me in making a change?
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