Wilnar’s entire family, especially his mother, worked hard to give him a “normal” life. She sent him to a regular school and encouraged him to be active in sports. But, Wilnar’s life was not normal and in his own words it often “hurt”, “Wilnar’s World” was a silent world with no music or laughter. He never heard his mother’s voice or the simple words, “I love you.” Often other children would not play with him afraid they would end like him. You see Wilnar was born deaf and could not speak.
Wilnar came to Daine & Bill Pool’s “One Candle Schoolhouse” at Tambobo Bay to learn about computers and found a whole new world. At first he was shy and reluctant to participate but soon he started to emerge. He had always been very good at math but he discovered he also had an artistic side. The T-shirt he is wearing is his own creation based on his name. If you go to http://candlesschoolhouse.blogspot.com/ you can see full color examples of his extraordinary artistic talent.
“One Candle Schoolhouse” has approximately twenty students. With their full support Wilnar began to develop his interpersonal skills. They all began to learn International Sign language and a wide variety of ways to express their collective intellectual and artistic talents. They created decorated note cards, jewelry, colorful candles, and individually stylized T-shirts which they sell to support the school. But this was not just a “one-way” exchange. Wilnar’s courage to accept new challenges gave others the courage to try their own challenges. Another deaf child in the school decided to enroll in public school, to face her own worst fears.
One Candle Schoolhouse went to the Great Physicians Rehabilitation Center (GPRehab) here in Dumaguete City. Wilnar and his classmates taught the differently abled wheelchairbound children how to tie dye and met yet new personal challenges. A field trip to Apo Island inspired Leonila Palalon to try and save an endangered reef. She is currently writing letters and Proposals to the government. Charlie Palallos dreams of building and repairing boats. When I visited the school he was hard at work refinishing a spar on a small sailboat.
I got an idea. If you have a talent you can share with these great kids, why not volunteering to be a guest teacher. They have a small kitchen, you could teach cooking. They have computers, you could teach programming. Maybe you know decoupage, knitting or some other creative craft. These kids are bright; they learn fast. Contact Diane or Bill Pool, firstname.lastname@example.org. There are only four more weeks of summer school so time is running out. If you are talentless, like me, just go down for a visit or become a sponsor for this inspiring grassroots program. It is a beautiful place to visit and you will never regret losing your heart to these wonderful kids.