SHARE (Support for the Handicapped and their Rehabilitation through Education)
SHARE is a special educational program for the hearing-impaired at Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City. Pioneered by Methodist educators over 25 years ago, this program has been offering specialized academic and vocational training to hearing-impaired children from kindergarten to high school. Today, SHARE has become a prototype for all hearing impaired schools in Central Luzon. It has the best-trained teachers and administrators who have in turn received national awards and recognition for this program. They have a roster of graduates who have become productive members of the community, the most notable of whom is Fretzie Aves, who is now a teacher at the school.
A specialized program such as this does not come cheap. A full year at the program costs around eighteen thousand pesos (a little over $400) so to make it viable for the families to afford the tuition, a foundation was set up to solicit and accept donations for scholarships, supplies and equipment. A member of our congregation, Eleanor Serrano is a member of the foundation?s board of directors.
Through our gifts, we have sponsored two deserving scholars for the school year 2011-2012.
Xyran Castillo is 11 years old and is in second grade at SHARE. He has one younger brother, Ryan. His father is the main breadwinner earning $150 a month as a driver and augmented by his mother from being a part-time street vendor. To survive on this meager income his family live with his paternal grandparents . If it was up to his parents, he would not have gone to school at all because of the cost of his education. That is why at 10 years old, he is only in second grade. To go to school at SHARE, he has to commute far by public transportation. On top of being hearing-impaired, he was born with a cleft palate which was corrected by free surgery provided by a medical mission. Despite these handicap, he was recommended for scholarship by his teachers because of his love of learning. His teachers said he always comes to class prepared and well-groomed. He has dreams of finishing college in the future.
Ian Donnel Meneses is 11 years old and is in third grade. His mother is a single parent who left him with his grandmother to work in the big city. Ian and his grandmother is being supported by his aunt living abroad. The only family living with him is his grandmother who was the one who pushed for registering him at SHARE. Whatever money they receive from his aunt is spent for their daily subsistence so Ian was recommended for scholarship to help his grandmother achieve her dream for him. He is a happy and playful boy despite his circumstance. Our grant only paid for half of his tuition for the whole year because he was an honor student last year and is therefore on half scholarship from the school.
The scholarship money we sent them was raised partly from Gift To The World last December, a grant of $300 from Change In The World and from special offerings in March from our Mission of the Month campaign. It was not much but it has impacted the lives of two bright, hearing-impaired boys and their families because it has given them the gift of hope for their future.