Lecture: Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities through Tertiary Education

I want to share with you about this invitation I got from a long-time friend of mine in the deaf community and an expert sign language interpreter (she’s a hearing person by the way) Dr. Marie Therese Angeline Bustos of the University of the Philippines College of Education.

The University of the Philippines Diliman College of Education will hold a Lecture series entitled: “Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities through Tertiary Education“. It will be held on July 4, 2009, Saturday, 9:00am at the Benitez Theater. The special guest speaker is Mr. Riku-Heikki Virtanen, LL.M, a Deaf-blind human rights lawyer from Finland.

Here is a short description about the speaker:

Riku-Heikki Virtanen is a deaf-blind human rights lawyer from Finland. He has a Master of Laws degree from the University of Turku. His research focused on the right to work, reasonable accommodation and equality between disabled entrepreneurs and disabled workers. He serves as the vice-chairperson of Threshold Association, a human rights organization that promotes the rights of persons with disabilities and is the consultant and board member of the Finnish Deaf-Blind Association.

Deaf? Here’s free proof that you can hear!

Aha! I got your attention there! 🙂 That title was the tagline used in order to sell their company’s wonder product back in the early twentieth century.

I got this very old scanned magazine page from “The Silent Worker” Issue No. 33 printed in 1920 by then Gallaudet College. The device called “Acousticon” was invented and sold by Dictograph Products Corporation of New York City. It’s like a portable hearing aid with microphone system together with six step volume control which can be carried in a suitcase. Wow! I couldn’t imagine deaf people wearing that gadget while walking on the street in those days.

The scanned article was reprinted by the Aladin WLRC Catalog Libraries. They have a huge repository of old magazines kept by large universities in the US. Their site is a great resource for most of your researches and studies. Enjoy 🙂

Advertisement Printed in 1920

Deaf People and the Filipino Catholic Faith

Even though I openly profess, based on my previous posts that I am a Born-again Christian and belongs to a Bible Baptist denomination, I hold very high respect for the Catholic Christian faith and their flock. Our country has nearly 80% of the population who follow the Papal authority in Rome. I have many relatives from both sides who are devout Catholics. I even had an Aunt who is a nun. I also had an opportunity to interpret Catholic church weddings although I’m not used to their rituals.

St. Francis De Sales
St. Francis De Sales

After reading the blog of Fr Seán Coyle, a Catholic priest serving the deaf people from Bacolod City in the island of Negros Occidental, I found out about St. Francis De Sales the Patron Saint of the Deaf and Hearing-impaired. It was very much an interesting read because, in 1605, St. Francis took care and gave education to an indigent young man named Martin, a deaf-mute from birth. The man came almost daily to a house in Roche, France, where Bishop de Sales was staying, to ask for alms. He was a strong young man fit for all kinds of work, and the Bishop’s housekeeper often allowed him to help her in payment for the Bishop’s generosity.

I have not met Fr. Coyle personally because of our difference in religious affiliation. But I would definitely like to meet him if given a chance. He has made much remarkable missionary works for the deaf people in Bacolod. He truly is God’s man especially for those who can’t hear. 🙂

In the research made by Dr. Liza Martinez and Mr. Rafaelito Abat, it was the Spanish priest Fr. Ramon Del Prado, who arrived at the island of Leyte who first used sign language as a method of teaching catechism and to administer the sacrament of baptism to the deaf.

Fr. Sean Coyle photo link from his Personal Blog
Fr. Sean Coyle photo link from his Personal Blog

A recent newspaper article wrote about a legend in Binondo, a district in Manila with predominantly Chinese immigrants, which revolved around the venerated image of Santo Cristo de Longos, an image of the crucified Christ. It was said to be found by a deaf-mute Chinese at the site of an old well in the barrio of Longos in Binondo.

The Filipino Deaf has greatly benefited from the works of the Catholic missions. They often hold a yearly national congress on deafness since 1989 and provided sheltered homes and centers to indigent deaf people in the provinces. Many Catholic churches nationwide celebrate mass in sign language.

During the late nineties where deaf fraternities became so rampant and went out of hand, the Catholic Ministry to Deaf People spearheaded the campaign to re-educate the warring groups by providing them sports and spiritual activities. I was personally involved in those activities because back then, MCCID was one of those hit hard by the violence made by these factions. I became one of the facilitators together with Sis. Joy Cristal and Prof. Tess Buenaventura. Both of them are currently connected with DLS-College of St. Benilde School for Deaf Education.

The Catholic Laymen’s Association of the Deaf (CLAD) was formally created in 1998 as the official name of the deaf community in Immaculate Conception Parish of Marikina City. Its objective is to form an association of deaf individuals that espouses the Catholic faith. It was established to foster unity among deaf individuals, to promote the Catholic faith among the deaf by setting good examples, to promote spiritual, moral, and social values to serve group advocacy in the promotion of the general welfare of the deaf and to help in the empowerment of deaf individuals.

Those movements eventually brought peace and spiritual guidance among the deaf group. To all my Catholic brothers, Godspeed! 🙂

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