The Journey into Sharing Skills into the Deaf Community in Indonesia
Galuh Sukmara Soejanto
2nd Batch Duskin Trainee
[You can do everything to help disabled children, no matter how small or big, at least they can find their own essence in this world that is being grateful to know that they are blessed to be born like that way’ said one staff of JSRPD in Toyama Sunrise]
Those statement was said well in the front of me when I was about to leave for Indonesia for good, to strengthen my faith that I must not let my weakness to destroy the future dream/hopes that I gained all experiences, skills, knowledge, strategic planning in 2nd Duskin Leadership Training for Persons with Disabilities in Japan for a year. It was not an easy task that I had to carry out with limited capability as deaf person. But one of the JSRPD staff who used sign language very well always encouraged me to pursue the dream of creating an accessible and inclusive atmosphere in Indonesia, and indeed changing my life. It took 16 years to make the dream came true in real, I could finally get the opportunity to build the first deaf homeschooling that using sign bilingual approach and employ the deaf & hearing teachers to collaborate together. To be honest, to express my grateful to Duskin Company, JSRPD Staffs are not enough just by dropping words on letter or paper, but my dedication and commitment never die to fully accompany the deaf & disabled children to fight for their rights to live in this world without any oppression in aspect of life is my promise that I can dedicate to Duskin Company and JSRPD.
Million thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn precious things during my training in Japan. I have learnt the struggles, passion, painful, hardship that everyone in this Duskin program to fight for their equal rights are really inspiring and nurturing my mind, soul and physically not easy to giving all hopes up. I LOVE YOU, DUSKIN! VIVA DUSKIN FOREVER!
Especially to Masako Okuhira san, deeply I am expressing my big thanks for your support, passion, strengthening myself in the battle of mind, soul, to face the people who might not please with my activities & dreams, but you never tired of raise myself up not to ‘stop’ in the middle of life battles. You are my big INSPIRATION, I never stop to tell to everyone wherever I am giving lectures in many places about you.
Satomi Nasu San, for her dedication and passion to ‘teach’ me on how to appreciate about life by trying to be committed and disciplines to learn everything during my studying in Japan. Every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every second, all the moments were so blessing and meaningful lessons for me. Arigatou Gozaimasu, Nasu san!
“ The world needs to change. It can’t change itself. It’s ME.It’s YOU. It’s all of US have to bring that” (Malal Yousafzai)
To illustrate how far I have been through the struggles of fighting for the rights of disabled people, especially Deaf youth and children in Indonesia since returning to Indonesia after completed the training in Duskin Leadership Training for people with disabilities in 2000-2001, I am here going to share my experiences which were honestly nurturing my emotional, my soul, my spiritual ways to understand why I had been chosen in this way. To learn everything is easy, but to implement into the reality is a really big challenges and so many failures year by year I faced. Failure by failure is teaching me to strengthen myself to believe that God plans much better than mine, so I kept moving on to pursue my dreams to make them come true in reality. As below I am trying to report all the programs and actitivities that I started from ‘grassroots’ by empowering the community to be involved as part of social inclusion.
Since 2001 returned to Indonesia, I had been involved in various activities and movements on disability issues, trying to be friend among them, walk together to face all the difficulties hand in hand, trying to be place where they could express their worries, fears, and uncertain feelings out. I started to build the first social voluntary group for Deaf as called MATAHARIKU in Yogyakarta, involving some amazing Japanese volunteers to work together. We worked on educating the parents, teachers, society regarding the deaf issues to campaign the deaf awareness in school, universities, NGOs, and government through advocacy program, training, workshop, and Art Media. And I found out that these were giving big positive impacts to deaf community itself to change their mindset into positive mindset, their confidence is increased, and some deaf youth started to lead several community group such as DAC – Deaf Art Community, SST (Deaf School Community), Deaf Cafe, etc.
In 2008, I got the scholarship to take Master Degree on Sign Linguistics Faculty in La Trobe University, Melbourne for 3 years. I learnt more specific and professional skill on Deaf Education and Sign Language issues in improving Deaf children’s literacy skill, I decided to focus my field in deaf education, why? In Indonesia, there is no school which provides access using sign language in the classes for deaf, and deaf people who graduated from deaf schools have lower reading and writing skill than hearing children on age 8- 10 years old. And it found out in the research done by WFD Findland (2008) stated that 95% deaf children who are not taught in sign language in the class having lower literacy skill than deaf children who are taught in sign language in the world. This leads me to do further research in deaf education in several countries and Indonesia, especially. I found out that 95% deaf children graduated from deaf
schools have lower skill in reading and writing, and they struggled from higher education in Universities and employments. This education system put them in unfair position in aspects of life.
In January 2017, the school will be finished to be able to use as place for every deaf children can learn to explore the world without worrying of being labeled as ‘dumb’, ‘slow’, ‘freak’, or ‘to skip their sign language’, but we believe that every child is a CHAMP! Every child is a SMART!. So we start to name THE LITTLE HIJABI HOMESCHOOLING in this school. And the Little Hijabi is my answer that I have to save the deaf generation by designing the friendly and accessible curriculum for deaf children and train more deaf people who are willing to be professional, qualified teachers for deaf children, the most important of all is TO PRODUCE MORE DEAF TEACHERS WHO ARE TEACHING FROM THEIR HEART is the final goal that I put it on.
[The deaf & disabled students in the front of building and inside that we rent every year since 2012 to start the learning & teaching process]
Underlying reason for setting up The Little Hijabi Homeschooling is our belief every kid is a gift to human life, whether he is born perfect or not. To reach the great destination of Creation: Devotion and Servitude of an underlying Love and Longing for God, that he might be born 'imperfect' in the eyes of man , but he is 'perfect' in the eyes of God. Everybody is unique and different, and his presence brings life tasks that are also unique and different Children who are born with a disability is not a disgrace which needs to be hidden, because children with special needs are the 'Great Work' of God the Most Perfect whose potentials need to be explored through an education cored on respect for the individuals with special needs so that they can achieve their sense of their selves, can play and can learn in accordance with their needs, abilities and existing potentials.
The Little Hijabi Homeschooling is not only a school, but a place where a child with special needs or deaf can learn according to his existing needs, abilities, and potentials. It is the place where they will be assisted to learn to optimize all modalities of learning. The educators at The Little Hijabi Homeschooling will help the children to find the 'learning styles' of every child with special needs, so that they can take part in the community to actualize their potentials. The learning atmosphere at The Little Hijabi was deliberately set up as a more family atmosphere which is 'hommy' and convenient for children with special needs or deaf.
Regarding the uniqueness in the learning process in the classroom, we are helped by some Deaf educators who are very influential in fostering self-confidence confidence and self- meaningfulness of every child who interact with Deaf educators. Because we believe that Deaf educators are the best role models for the special needs children.
The curriculum used at The Little Hijabi Homeschooling is thematic, flexible, and customizable with the needs of children which can help fostering personal growth, character and potentials of children by developing the capacity and capability of the soul through a process of self-cleaning and self-balanced education. . The method we use and develop is that any field of study is taught by using the method of sign bilingualism that was first developed in Indonesia. The method uses sign language as a language of instruction for deaf children in the classroom as they learn all fields of study with a better understanding of language in writing, reading, signs and verbal cues as well.
It has been proved that the method of sign bilingualism has increased the ability of academic and social skills, and the ability to read and write better than Deaf children who are taught only through the oral method alone.
By using sign language, deaf children aged 3-5 years has been able to master a lot of vocabulary and to build effective communication with parents compared to deaf children aged 3-5 years who are taught through the oral method and are still gasping when communicating with parents in their poor language.
In another side, we also have own Syndrome, slow learning children, children with ADHD who who benefit the use of sign language in the classes, it is proven that they could communicate better than before, have better social and emotion adaption, have better understanding of the lesson quickly.
Finding out the sense of self (essence) of deaf children
Children are gifts for human life, whether they are born perfect or not.
To reach the great destination of Creation: Devotion and Servitude of an underlying Love and Longing for God.
Everybody is unique and different, and his presence brings life tasks that are also unique and different. Education plays a key role to provide a basic map so that each person recognizes the power of his self, how to use and make it a useful uniqueness and unique usefulness.
Knowledge is Illumination. That can only be received with the purity of the self (Purity of thought, clarity of heart, clarity of attitude to live it).
Education is cored on appreciation and respect for each individual process with life in achieving a sense of the self.
Each component of education is a learning partner to learn and to live life together. Education enables individual who initially could not do something to be able to do it,
individuals who are not likely to do something to be likely to do it, individuals who would not be willing to do something to be willing to do it, individuals who are not possible to do something to be possible to do it, individuals who feel uncertain to feel sure, individuals who are not recognized to have their own existence.
Education is a fusion process between experiencing and sharing. By experiencing, individuals will be able to share.
The students of The Little Hijabi Homeschooling
On July 2016 – January 2017 – the building project of The Little Hijabi Homeschooling will be completed on January 2017
|The classrooms||The front gate of The Little Hijabi school|
The house for deaf teachers
“At this moment, The Little Hijabi Homeschooling is
the first deaf school in Indonesia which provides education system for Deaf children at its very best.
This school shows that deaf children develop well when they are taught in sign language.
I hope that this school will be the first role model school to be implemented in several deaf schools in Indonesia
I HOPE THERE ARE MORE SUPPORT FOR THE LITTLE HIJABI HOMESCHOOLING TO BUILD SCHOOL
The Little Hijabi Homeschooling is very amazing school due to their deafness, the deaf teachers do not stop to do something beautiful and worth to inspire others to teach deaf children from their heart. The Little Hijabi shows that all of children are champs, stars and can do everything!
It is time to give deaf children to have their language right in the education, allowing them to use their mother’s tongue language, that is sign language will help them to study well in the class
ISARA on www.isara.tv is an open sign language dictionary and learning application which is created by DREAMBENDER collaborating with the little hijabi team as mentor won the Queen of Denmark’s Award.
The students of The Little Hijabi Homeschooling – Bekasi, Indonesia
We are creating and producing the teaching and learning material to help the deaf and disabled children enjoy the study in the classes and easy to access. We are also creating the sign bilingual dictionary with creative and fun illustrations to help parents and deaf children enjoy to build effective communication in warmest ways