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Help for the Deaf

Deaf2

 

Le Pelican has always welcomed children with various special needs and has sought to serve and equip them as well as possible.  Deafness is a common affliction in Afghanistan due to disease and intermarriage. Sometimes several children in one family are deaf. Parents often bring deaf/mute children to the center in desperation seeking help.  The work embodies the mission of Le Pelican and is close to Ariane's heart.

This call took shape through a formative event over a decade ago that deeply marked Ariane.  While visiting remote provinces, Jacques and Ariane came across a family with a deaf/mute boy.  The family treated him poorly – he was their shame.  He would be out in the fields digging for potatoes in the freezing cold while his brothers were at home.  It was extremely difficult for Jacques and Ariane to watch but they spent time with the family and got a chance to show the boy love.  He responded warmly and eagerly.  When it came time to leave the village, Jacques and Ariane caught sight of the boy working alone in the field as they were driving away.  Ariane asked the driver to stop and she went over to the boy.  He was begging her to return soon and she, in her heart, resolved to do so.  The only way she felt she could express this to the boy was to give him something but all she had was her baseball hat.  So she gave it to him as a token of her intent to return.  But they never did so.  The work in Kabul was demanding and needs were so pressing that they never got the opportunity to return.  Ariane carries this failure to this day and it fuels her desire to expand Le Pelican's capacity for deaf/mute students.

In 2010, enough deaf children were being brought to Le Pelican that Jacques and Ariane decided to start a class for them. They hired a sign language teacher and the classroom soon filled. These children were thrilled to be learning to communicate with others.  Word quickly spread and before long more families arrived with deaf children.

Ariane squeezed other classes together to make room for several more classes for deaf students. She hired a male sign language teacher for older deaf boys.  Today Le Pelican has over 50 deaf students and is at capacity.

Many families continue to bring their deaf children to Le Pelican.  Ariane is sad to turn them away having no more room at the center.  Her vision is to raise funds to open a new center dedicated to deaf students.  This center will be located near the current center in Kabul.  She has already had inquiries from families in other parts of the country who would like to send their deaf children to live with family members in Kabul in order to attend the new center.