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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Henry Sy Foundation Revitalizes the Philippine School for the Deaf

The country's Magna Carta for Disabled Persons ensures the rehabilitation, self-development, and self-reliance of persons with disabilities. The country provides educational assistance to people with disabilities from primary to tertiary education, including vocational or technical training.

The Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) has been around for over a century, having been established in 1907, and has demonstrated the transformative power of education in empowering and unlocking the capabilities of those with diverse disabilities to live fulfilling lives. 

PSD has maintained its commitment of service as one of Asia's oldest institutions for the deaf. However, the premises itself has suffered from the effects of time and wear, thus compromising its ability to fulfill its mission. 

The institution lacked basic facilities and accessibility features: converted classrooms, timeworn corridors, limited space for vocational training, inadequate furniture, dilapidated walls and ceilings, broken tiles and faucets, and dim lighting. The building itself is also prone to drainage problems, and has only one functional toilet with a broken door which is termite infested. 

The Henry Sy Foundation, SM Foundation (SMFI), and DepEd's School Division Office of Pasay City joined hands to give the Philippine School for the Deaf more than just a makeover, but to give the institution the spirit to continue its service till the next century. The collaboration turned over not just renovated buildings but a 4-story 12 classroom structure. This initiative is a testament to the power of collaboration with like-minded groups and institutions in revitalizing educational infrastructure for the benefit of the community. 

Previously hindered by infrastructural limitations, the century-old school now features enhanced learning spaces dedicated to various subjects, including dressmaking, beauty care, cookery, electrical, bartending, f&b preparation, ICT, and dance. A dance studio with a dressing room and a conference room was also refurbished. 

For the safety of the students, ramps and railings were also installed throughout the campus. And it is not just the classroom that was refurbished, SM Group also enhanced the conference rooms, the lobby and reception area so that it will provide a comfortable atmosphere. 

Helping instill good hygiene and encourage healthy habits, a handwashing station and a separate male and female toilets were also fixed to provide clean and functional cubicles, urinals and PWD-friendly facilities.

The covered court of PSD was also restored so that it can be used for outdoor learning and recreation. 

The rehabilitation of the facilities at the PSD was undertaken, not just to address the physical challenges but also to cultivate an environment where every student can thrive. The project stands as a testament to the SM and Henry Sy Foundations' continued pursuit of inclusivity and its commitment to empowering differently-abled individuals through education. 


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