By Thomas | 1 June 2016 | Fiji | Deaf Community | Inspiration

When people say that volunteering will change you as a person and the way that you look at life, it’s not “cliché”, it’s the truth. What you see, experience and learn from the people that you live with for those days, weeks or months will have an impact in your life.
Ultimately, not only are you making a difference towards that particular community and be ready to take on a huge challenge, because let me tell you, it’s not that simple, but also because you will meet people that, although living in a different culture and country, want the same as you, happiness, comfort and to thrive in life.

Choosing the right volunteer project isn’t an easy task, because there are so many out there. And narrowing it down to the ones that really protect and care for the ones in need, is much harder than you think. Before we left London to travel the world indefinitely our friend Matthew Adedeji talked to us about a Deaf School located in Suva and how hard they work to give Deaf Children access to Education. Their main priority is to look out for Deaf Children that are isolated from the world in remote villages, without the opportunity to go to school.
These children are often isolated because of their deafness and their families have no Deaf Awareness.

volunteer project in fiji

From that moment, we knew we were going to love it. So we accepted the opportunity as a gift and we were delighted by the chance that was given to us. That is why we decided to volunteer for Fiji Deaf Ministry, Gospel School for the Deaf, as we were absolutely certain that we were going to be involved 100%. The Fijian Deaf Community are very friendly and very welcoming. Even though our culture and traditions are very different, they always made us feel very comfortable.

We volunteered at the Gospel Deaf School for 5 weeks and had an amazing time meeting inspirational people, helping out at the school and most rewarding of all, to make those children smile and reassure them that being Deaf is not a barrier, but that we have to work harder to achieve things in life. But that is fine and makes us hard working people.

volunteer with deaf children

The Fiji Deaf Ministry is a Christian charity providing education and support for the Deaf of the South Pacific. The Gospel School for the Deaf is located in Suva, Fiji, and the Harland Hostels provide accommodation for those who do not live locally. The Ministry also works with those who provide the Deaf with post-schooling support. If you wish to find out more about the school or get in contact, please click here.

At the Gospel School there are four hostels, mainly divided by gender and age. I stayed with the Senior Boys and Telma stayed at the Main Hostel, living with the Junior boys and girls.
Our main duties were to help with homework, take the children to school in the mornings, set up weekend activities, being part of Bible studies on Fridays and Saturdays and attending Church on Sunday.

fiji deaf community

fiji deaf children

Special Thanks:
This opportunity would have not been possible without the help of Matthew Adedeji and the hospitality from Jim and Marilyn Cooney over in Suva. We also would like to thank people that had a tremendous impact on our life and made everything to make us feel comfortable and welcomed us into their homes and families with open arms. In no particular order these people are: Tema, Tony, Ana, Myriama, Mere, Tuli, Inise and Paceli.

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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

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