From malnutrition to unemployment to problems with homelessness, the challenges in Haiti are well-documented and attest to the daily hardships confronting the country’s people. But imagine how much more difficult life is for those who also face a disability.
For Haiti’s deaf population, survival is an almost insurmountable challenge.
That’s why Cross International supports Divine Grace School for the Deaf, an academic and vocational school founded in 1995 by Pastor Juinato Genada and his wife Rose. Originally from the Philippines, the Genada’s moved to Gonaives nearly 20 years ago and have followed the Lord’s call to help those in desperate need.
“I knew the challenges facing the deaf,” said Pastor Genada. “Here, they cannot communicate with people. They get in accidents. Because of their handicap, people ignore them.”
Through Divine Grace School for the Deaf, his goal is to help the deaf realize—and show others—that they can do the same things as everyone else. The school provides students with an academic education, as well as vocational training so they will graduate with employable skills. Once they graduate, Pastor Genada helps the students find jobs, employing many at a bakery he started for that very purpose.
The compassionate teachers share Pastor Genada’s desire to see the deaf thrive and succeed. Guerlyn Jacques has been teaching at the school for the past two years. As a deaf person herself, she hopes to impart wisdom to improve the lives of her students.
Through an interpreter, she said: “I have seen the children increase in life and go on to work in other places. The school has changed their views of themselves, which is helping change society’s view of the abilities of the deaf.”
This year, Cross is helping expand the school through a classroom building project, so Pastor Genada and teachers like Guerlyn Jacques can continue to minister to even more deaf children and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to become moral, productive adults.
“God is faithful,” said Pastor Genada. “We have been praying for three years for a new school building and the Lord has blessed us through Cross.”