RMI Leading the Way in the Pacific on Deaf and Blind Education

Great strides are being made in the RMI on deaf education and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).  Nancy Rushmer and Chinilla Pedro of the EHDI program, part of the Pacific Outreach Initiative from the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii, have been working with parents and educators in Majuro and Ebeye and report great results.  They also credit Education Minister Hilda Heine and Minister of Health David Kabua for the RMI’s success as a leader in deaf and blind education and early intervention projects in the Pacific.  Part of Ms. Rushmer’s and Ms. Pedro’s mission is to find families who need special education services.  Their home visits have resulted in new students for special education classes.  Children who had previously relied on “home signs,” are finding a rich new world with a fuller vocabulary, allowing them to communicate more fully with their family and participate more fully in school.  Embassy staffers also learned some basic signs, like “Yokwe,” “how are you?” and “outstanding!”  Deaf World Teach Volunteers from the United States are also extremely important partners in the Pacific.  The Embassy thanks all of these educators for their great work.