Empowering the Deaf Community: A School Renovation Project

Being hearing-impaired presents its own set of challenges, especially in a world where spoken language is fundamental to communication. This challenge is further magnified in the Philippines, where opportunities for the deaf are scarce, particularly in education and employment. The limited number of secondary schools catering to their needs, coupled with financial constraints and inadequate facilities, makes it worst for their struggle to acquire skills and knowledge.

A dedicated teacher from PSD provides a hands-on lecture inside their newly rehabilitated school building

Shery Funcion, the Principal of the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in Pasay City, is intimately familiar with these challenges. Her commitment to this cause traces back to her college thesis, which focused on creating job opportunities for deaf individuals. Since then, she has actively engaged with various organizations and volunteered extensively, gaining firsthand experience of the limited avenues available to deaf learners. Her journey led her from being a SPED teacher to assuming the role of principal at PSD.

"The immersive experience really showed me how important these projects are for our students—kung gaano kahalaga ang pagbibigay ng mga pasilidad sa mga mag aaral lalo na sa mga bingi," she underscored the importance of providing facilities for students with hearing impairment. 

A facility that produces opportunities 

The collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City equips students with in-demand skills that will prepare them for employment upon graduation.

At PSD, the century-old senior high school laboratory building is where students train. Despite its age, the classrooms and halls have been crucial in preparing deaf students for successful careers after graduation. However, due to limited funds, the facility struggled with rehabilitation and major repairs. Students and teachers coped with challenges like dim lighting, leaking roofs, and uneven floors, affecting both the structure and the learning environment.

"Our deaf learners need special accommodation to fulfill their special educational needs. They need to have a conducive learning environment so we can optimize the activities and learning programs," Funcion stressed. 
Funcion further shared that the 2023 collaborative project of the Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI)—the social good arm of the SM Group, and the Department of Education's Schools Division Office of Pasay City could not have come at a better time. 

 "The rehabilitation of the Home Economics (HE) laboratories is crucial because students need to fulfill their performance tasks. These are vital components of our senior high school program to ensure that they acquire essential skills and competencies for employment post-graduation from PSD." 

Through the collaboration, PSD has been provided with the much-needed facilities in dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, food & beverage preparation, ICT, and dance.

Thanks to the collaboration, PSD now has essential facilities for dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical work, bartending, food preparation, ICT, and dance.

Funcion sees the Henry Sy Sr. building as a promising start, opening doors to equal opportunities and a future where deaf students' talents will shine both in and out of the classroom.