The Liberian School of the Deaf (LSD), located in Virginia, Montserrado County has received Dr. Malachi Z. York Foundation’s helping hand in alleviating some of the challenges it is faced with. Receiving a 2.7 KVA generator, a laptop computer and a flat screen television along with Wifi internet service for easy access to their own type of academic education, the students, supported by their administrators and staff celebrated and expressed gratitude to Dr. York’s Foundation for the gesture and wish that they are remembered even after the donation.

Making the donation of the items, the vice president of Dr. York’s Foundation, Den Tut Rayay said the gesture was his Foundation’s way of identifying with the hearing impaired community of Liberia and acknowledging that Liberia is their home because there is liberty for all.

“This is our contribution as Africans from America to the Republic of Liberia, particularly to the hearing impaired students of the Liberia School of the Deaf. We are proud to start this pilot program in partnership with the office of the Vice President for the Republic of Liberia, Her Excellency Jewel Howard Taylor; the Executive Director for the Group of 77, Honorable Wayfa Florence Ciapha; Matin Scott-Tabi of Life Span Liberia Services; and with Educational Hands (a Georgia, USA-based entity that provides educational sign support), Dr. Ashia James, a certified Educational Interpreter and Lead ASL instructor at the University of Georgia; and of course, Dean of Students for the Liberia School of the Deaf Andrew Tuqbeh,” Rayay said.

Students of Liberian School for the Deaf at the donation ceremony

Buttressing Rayay’s statement, Saqar Ahhah Ahershu, a member of Dr. York Foundation too, said the purpose of the donation of the materials and the US$1,000 was not only to show that the school is in desperate need of material help but also that they are in need of an opportunity to have a connection with an international community of American Sign Language teachers.

“This will broaden the horizon for these young students by keeping them in tune with the latest developments in American sign language and connecting them with some of the world’s most profound and proficient educators certified in American Sign Language and also giving them the opportunity to connect and engage with other students world over,” Saqar said. He said when the program is formally initiated in September, students at the Liberia School of the Deaf will be tutored by teachers from “Educational Hands” in the United States monthly via the wifi system laptop, and flat screen TV his organization in partnership with others have donated to the school.

For his part, Sanab Sanan Atum Rayay, also from Dr. York’s Foundation, said “This activation is very significant for us as our ancestors are not only of the Africans brought into America during the Slave trade but also those that traveled to the Americas thousands of years ago prior to colonization and birthed what came to be the Red Indian. From that group came what they call the black Indian or black Native American Tribes. They used sign language as an integral part of their communication. It is said that the sign system developed made it easier for the indigenous peoples to communicate with each other and the language of signs used by our ancestors was more for intertribal communication than it was for the deaf, as William J. Samarin of International Journal of American Linguistics noted in his compilation.”

The Vice President, Jewel Howard Taylor could not make it to the program and was represented the executive director of the Group of 77, Wayfa Florence Ciapha. In her remarks Madam Ciapha thanked the Malachi York Foundation for being thoughtful of helping Liberian students, mainly those in the disabled community, achieve their learning goals through the use of good instruments.

“I am, and very sure that our Vice President, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor is impressed with the Malachi York Foundation for donating these important items, including cash,” Ciapha said. She noted that Saqar Ahahh Arhesu and Den Tut Rayay’s brief interaction with the Vice President has proven worthwhile a great partnership adventure than even thought of earlier. “My office has been informed by the Vice President to identify some basic needs of the disabled community, which includes the people with impaired hearing, visual impairment, mentally ill, among others and report them to her office. She will inform the Dr. York Foundation and they will help provide solutions to those needs. We are grateful to them for this” she said.

The director of the School of the Deaf, Rev. Torbbor E. Dixon, earlier speaking, thanked the Malachi York Foundation for the donation and assured them of his office’s commitment to use every item, including the money for its intended purpose.

By David Menjor of Liberia’s Daily Observer

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