At Foundations Academy, our sign language educator Mr. Abel Dauda, moves from class to class teaching the students basic sign language.
Foundations Academy does not have any hearing-impaired students. However, we decided to teach sign language so the children will be able to communicate with hearing-impaired people when they meet them.
Mr. Abel lost his hearing after an illness when he was about 8 years old. Because he grew up as a hearing child, he is able to speak. He speaks both English and Hausa. When we decided to teach sign language, we deliberately looked for a hearing-impaired educator. We knew that this would force both students and educators to learn sign language rather than simply lapsing into spoken words for ease of communication.
Since we are all still beginners, we often have to rely on written communication with Mr. Abel in order to convey various thoughts. Hopefully in a year or two, that will no longer be the case.
Mr. Abel has a diploma from the University of Jos. He is thrilled to have a job at Foundations Academy. Prior to working with us, the only types of jobs he had were carrying loads for people.
One parent was delighted when her young children came home and showed her the signs they were learning. Her brother is hearing-impaired and her children had never been able to communicate with him before. Now the door has been opened for them to start engaging their uncle in conversation.
Another parent of a two-year-old told the principal that her child is not speaking yet, but now the child is making many different signs in order to express himself. The mother is anxious to quickly learn a little sign language in order to know what her son is communicating about. Children are able to communicate before they can speak. There are a number of books available on teaching sign language to babies.
Perhaps some of our students will grow up to be sign-language interpreters. This is a wonderful skill that can really come in handy.
The school children love to flock around Uncle John. Once a week, he teaches the children about different parts of the world. We will be sad to see him leave in the next couple of months as his family returns to New Zealand.
The Women of Hope sure are keeping busy these days! In recent days, our women have been asked to produce:
–120 tote bags for a summer conference
–25 flags for different countries (12” x 18”)
–50 queen-sized quilts with a host of our other products
The women are beyond thrilled–this is like Christmas in March! The women have rarely been pushed to work to their full capacity. They love to have work to fill their time—and their purses.
Foundations Academy will be hosting a Math Drill for students on Spring Break during the last two weeks of April. We have discovered that our students are greatly lacking in basic math knowledge. All students will be drilled in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division as well as some other basics such as rounding and place value.
The teachers are currently undergoing training for the Math Drill. We plan to teach the students through games and fun activities. We are confident that once the students master the basics of math, they will be able to excel in their further study of math.
Foundations Academy began in 2005 as a small home-school to try to bring orphans up-to-speed and then integrate them into local schools. However, during the summer of 2010, we tested many of our students (orphans) who had been in local schools, and discovered that they lacked the basics for success in school. We realized that we just had to expand to our own full-fledged school.
We kicked off with about 25 students and five teachers for the 2010-11 school year. We have about 70 students and 15 teachers this year. It has been exciting to see the students grow in their knowledge.
Many of the children in the school are orphans or partial orphans while others come from the community around us.
Every December we host a party for all the orphans and partial orphans we work with. They love to come for the entertainment, fun, food, and gifts. For many of them, this is the only Christmas they will have.
We had collected a lot of used clothing throughout the year and all of the children were able to get a few articles of clothing. Clothes are more important to them than toys.
My name is Joe. I am the last boy in a family of six. I attended Banjolat Friendship Academy, Ipetu- Ijesa, Ogun State then I came to Jos to finish my secondary education at the Royal Ambassadors College, Jos. While in secondary school, I kept bad friends—we would drink and go to parties. As a teen, I loved girls which I thought was normal but I never had sex with any of them because I was scared.
In 2008, I came to Mashiah Foundation because my parents saw a friend that I sometimes relate with in the neighborhood. He is very different from the other friends I had and they (my parents) saw that he was good for me to mingle with. I found out that he works at the youth department of Mashiah Foundation. He introduced me to the training centre. My life changed through the discipleship teachings I’ve been getting. I stopped drinking, chasing after girls and was able to start seeing them as I saw my sisters. I also stopped partying. Coming to Mashiah Foundation has really increased my focus in life, made me know God the more.
I am still a student and I am trusting God for admission to further my education in any of the universities or polytechnics around. I am ever grateful for being part of the family.
My name is Chollom Choji. Before I came to Mashiah Foundation Leadership and Computer Institute, I was into partying and taking alcohol at these parties I attended. I loved girls and enjoying having girlfriends around me. I can miss church just to go partying or clubbing.
Now, whenever I hear my friends telling me to go to a party with them or telling me about the parties they have attended, something in my mind keeps telling me to be strong even though I miss going to parties. The thing which I strongly believe is the quiet voice of God telling me to stop and check my life and change my behaviours for good. The teaching I have received and am still receiving from the Institute reminds me daily of the need to change my life. Anytime my friends come to ask me to go with them, I ask them to go away. I now go to church, not only on Sundays, but I try to go daily.
I believe and am trusting God to complete that which He has started in my life.
Stephen is an orphan who lost both of his parents to HIV/AIDS and was abandoned by relatives. He is one of the children being taken care of by Mashiah Foundation and during his holiday he prefers to spend most of his time meaningfully by doing some art work rather than playing around like other kids of his age. He is a very intelligent and hard -working boy, who is presently living in the Mashiah Foundation care home called Bezer home.