Leigha and the Triplets

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Signing Time Goes to Ghana!

Today I wanted to post a plea for your help! The Signing Time Foundation, which is run entirely by volunteers, is trying to help the deaf children in Ghana, Africa. Here is the information that Rachel Coleman, of Signing Time, has posted:

We have the incredible opportunity to go to Ghana Africa and teach the deaf! Some of you have heard me mention this before, but it is REALLY happening. For the first trip, Aaron, Leah and I are going January 21st 2008.

We are looking for 10 individuals, businesses or corporations to donate $1,000 each to The Signing Time Foundation. So far Emilie and I have asked 3 people and all 3 have said "Yes!" We also received a $1000 check from a family who decided not to do x-mas gifts this year, but to donate to a good cause. They asked their youngest daughter to choose the cause and she said, "I think we should give it to Alex and Leah!" (So that's $4000 down and only $6000 to go!)

So I am asking you to stop and think for 1 minute. Are you, your company or someone you know interested in being one of our 10 sponsors?

A little bit about Ghana and why we are going. Ghana is the size of Oregon. They have 13 schools for the deaf there. Deaf children start school at the age of 4. Many are dropped off for their 3 month semester and their families never come back to pick them up. A week after the semester ends, an orphanage bus comes to get the children who have been left.

Many of the families can not afford the tuition $16 per semester. Many are embarrassed that their child is deaf.

The teachers have no background in Deaf Ed. They finish college and are assigned to teach at a school. Most teachers are unhappy to find they are assigned to a deaf school. They do not know the language and have no proof that these deaf children CAN be taught.

In Ghana the deaf have no value, no rights and grow up to be laborers. And deaf girls are even worse off. Two years ago deaf girls were finally allowed to go to high school. There are no interpreters for deaf students who make it to college.

When Leah heard this, she was distraught. Her eyes were full of tears and she said, "Mom!! We have to do something!! I'm deaf and I'm a girl and if I was born in Ghana I wouldn't have a chance!"

While filming the last Signing Time shows we interviewed Leah and I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up. She said, "I want to be a teacher of the deaf in Africa." Well, Leah will not have to wait until she has grown up. We have partnered with Signs Of Hope International - they have created internships for Americans who know ASL to go teach the teachers. They also have a teacher incentive program, to incentivize the teachers to show up to class and to learn ASL.

Signs of Hope International brought Signing Time DVD's to the schools in Ghana. The teachers and students could not believe that in America a deaf GIRL would ever be on TV and that here a deaf girl would be celebrated.

We are looking to make this a yearly trip, where we can go inspire, teach and show these children the possibilities for their futures. It is our goal that on our future trips we will not only teach and inspire, but we will be building playgrounds and dormitories at these schools as well.

If you ARE someone who would like to support these efforts, or you know someone who will, a tax deductible donation to can be made to:

The Signing Time Foundation
623 E. Fort Union Blvd. Suite 202
Midvale UT 84047

Or you can donate any amount right now by visiting www.signingtimefoundation.org

Please stop by Rachel's blog to read more and see a video interview of Leah!

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