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Dec 4, 2014

Healthy Living – Living with Disabilities

Various activities are taking place around the country to mark Disability Week. It is estimated that there are about three thousand five hundred persons countrywide living with disabilities. Healthy Living this week discusses the importance of inclusive education in the schools, which is the mandate of the National Research Center for Inclusive Education (NaRCIE). At Nazarene High School, we found a bright young student from Punta Gorda, who has moved to the City to realize her dreams to become a nurse.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Sixteen year old Omica Chun relocated from Punta Gorda to Belize City to attend highschool. It may seem like a far journey for secondary education, but for Omica it is a necessary transition in securing a successful future.


Omica Chun, 1st form student, Hearing Impaired

Omica Chun

“When I was in primary school before, I plan to attend high school because I want to be successful in my life. I’m deaf but I have a chance. I want to show that I can be successful. I want the same as hearing even though I am deaf. I want a job. We are the same and we can show that I, myself, that I can achieve my goal.”


As unbelievable as it may seem, Omica graduated from a primary school for hearing people. In other words, she  managed through school without the assistance of any interpreters. This experience is what led her to Belize City. and specifically Nazarene HighSchool.


Omica Chun

“I want to come to Belize to go to Nazarene High School. I knew that Jamie was coming here and she’s deaf so I wanted to come here. it was hard in primary school because there was no interpreter and you had to focus so hard and try. Now I feel so satisfied that I could have an interpreter. I feel free; I can just sign and understand.”


Marjorie Bernard

Marjorie Bernard, Teacher/Interpreter, Ministry of Education

“My name is Marjorie Bernard and I am a teacher and also an interpreter. I always believe that the deaf can be the same as a hearing person. They can achieve whatever goals they have set in front of them. They can.”


Marjorie is a kindergarden teacher on her first assignment as an interpreter for hearing impaired students. The school allows her to shadow Omica and another of the three other hearing imparied students in every class at school.


Elisa Seguro, Principal Nazarene High School

Elisa Seguro

“There’s not a lot of changes that we need to do to work with Omica. She’s just like a regular student in school. The ministry of education offers the necessary support. We have that sign language interpreter here. They’re paying that person so its not a burden on us. The Ministry of Education does its part.”


Marjorie Bernard

“I have been working with Omica for the past six months and I feel so excited. Because I see her potential. And I feel like I can give her that added push to help her achieve her goal. She is an exceptional students, I must say. I feel so excited when I watch her working math and how she participates in presentations she signs her own part and she’s always willing to participate.”


All of Omica’s teachers rave about her dedication in her school work and continuos particiaption in class. But what about socializing with students? After all every high school student yearns for acceptance and camaraderie.


John Dominguez

John Dominguez, Omica’s Classmate

“First, miss, I mi think ih mi wah feel weirdish but once you get fi know them you learn that they are the same as others just with a disability.”


Marjorie Bernard

“First it was a little (hand gesture) but now everyone wants to learn sign language.”


John Dominguez

“We get to understand more what’s it like to be hearing impaired.”


Shekinah Cardinez, Omica’s Classmate

Shekinah Cardinez

“We have a sign language club here. And I was proud to join it because I really wanted to talk to them.  To me ih good because I understand and I can speak to both of them anytime now. Both of the young ladies that cant speak. They da good company fih heng with. Like Omica, she top this class miss and she does very well and always paying attention; she came in first for this class and like how I dah Kaylan fren I try shub she into class work.”


John Dominguez

“They still have the same mind capacity and they can still work with others. Just that something is stopping them from understanding.”


This lesson in appreciation and respect is one of the most obvious benefits of allowing for inclusive education at the school and is part of the reason that Nazarene has welcomed these children with special needs.


Elisa Seguro

“Students get to appreciate people with special needs because that is the reality so when they are older and they need these people they can treat them as normal.”


Marjorie Bernard

“Everyone should give everyone a chance. No matter how they are. Because everyone has some skill or ability to do something for themselves.”


Omica Chun

“Never believe that the hearing are the best. Hearing impaired can be equals same. Because they’re brain is the same. Not the body cause they’re cripple or deaf or blind, they think you’re down and can’t be successful but the mind is the same equal.”


Omica’s long term goal is to become a nurse. A goal that everyone we talked to is sure she will accomplish.   For her immediate future though, she wants to build friendships, a great reminder that she is actually – just a teenager.


Omica Chun

“I dont have any best friend right now. I have people who are friendly. I hope when 2nd or 3rd term I may find a best friend.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living – Living with Disabilities”

  1. Deaf Deaf says:

    Please be advised that the term, “hearing impaired” is unacceptable. Here is the explanation:

    The term “Hearing Impaired” is a technically accurate term much preferred by hearing people, largely because they view it as politically correct. In the mainstream society, to boldly state one’s disability (e.g., deaf, blind, etc.) is somewhat rude and impolite. To their way of thinking, it is far better to soften the harsh reality by using the word “impaired” along with “visual”, “hearing”, and so on. “Hearing-impaired” is a well-meaning word that is much-resented by deaf and hard of hearing people. This term was popular in the 70s and 80s, however, now is used mostly by doctors, audiologists and other people who are mainly interested in our ears “not working.”

    While it’s true that their hearing is not perfect, that doesn’t make them impaired as people. Most would prefer to be called Deaf, Hard of Hearing or deaf when the need arises to refer to their hearing status, but not as a primary way to identify them as people (where their hearing status is not significant).

    We are deaf, and not people with impairments (obstacles) in life!

    Hope that you and your people respect by refusing to use the outdated and offensive term. Hearing loss is more acceptable for everyone who is not just deaf.

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