For about six or seven years, I have sponsored a deaf child in the Philippines named Florie Jane Ellie. Florie Jane is one of more than 400 deaf children attending special-education classes provided by International Deaf Education Association, or IDEA.
Founded in 1985, the U.S. nonprofit organization is working to educate impoverished and neglected deaf children in the Philippines so that they may become self-reliant. I learned about the group from my former church.
More than 400 deaf children are able to attend IDEA-supported classes on the islands of Bohol and Leyte such as the class shown in the photo. This is mainly made possible through a program whereby American or European individuals and families financially support the schooling of a student assigned to them.
Without financial help for their families and an education, deaf children in the Philippines are consigned to a hard life with few prospects. For about $35 a month—so little money for most of us—I believe we have literally changed Florie’s life in immeasurable ways.
And, I should add, the relationship has been mutually beneficial: The sponsorship of Florie Jane has been so powerfully uplifting for me and my daughter, who is about the same age.
There are so many children in the world who need help of course, and we do what we can. This was my choice, and I wish I could sponsor 10 or 100 children.