QI of Metro Cebu
Rescuing a Special Education Center
In an impoverished area of Cebu called Labangon, a schoolhouse is falling apart. The dilapidated structure that houses the San Nicolas Special Education Center (SPED) serves to represent the sad state of this community, where unemployment is high and wages from available jobs barely cover a day’s food and shelter for the worker, let alone his or her family. Not surprisingly, one or both of San Nicolas students’ parents are typically out of work. On days when money is low, children who must pay for transportation in order to get to school usually stay home, so their families can eat.
Students who make it to school face numerous obstacles to learning. The center’s walls and ceiling are crumbling around them; the classrooms are stiflingly hot; and the teachers lack instruction materials. The schoolyard, without a fence, holds its own perils, especially when a frustrated child with special needs bursts out the door in a fit of emotion, running toward the busy street.
Although two well-loved teachers do all that they can, the center’s program design lends itself to chaos. While one-quarter of the students attend the deaf education program, the majority are mentally challenged students, aged nine to adult, all lumped together in one class, whether they suffer from behavioral disorders, autism, dyslexia, Down’s syndrome, or cerebral palsy.
Clearly, something had to be done.
The fledgling Metro Cebu Quota club, chartered in November 2008, is working to refurbish and improve the San Nicolas Special Education Center through this Club-to-Club initiative. Plans for 2009-2011 include significant building and plumbing repairs, improved ventilation, installation of a fence, and donation of books and school supplies along with screened bookcases to safeguard the materials. Club-to-Club donations will also help supplement teacher salaries, provide snacks for students on a regular basis, and provide hearing aids for students in need.
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