Christian Services for the Blind and Hearing Impaired (CSFBHI) recently awarded Jessica Laws the Personal Pursuit and Empowerment scholarship.
The scholarship gives cash assistance to qualifying visually-impaired or hearing-impaired persons, or support persons, participating in self-improvement, vocational or recreational programs in support of their life goals.
Ms Laws is studying Certificate 3 in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) with the goal of studying to interpreter level. Improved fluency in Auslan signing will empower her to make a greater contribution to the Church’s outreach to the neglected Deaf community. In this area, Ms Laws is a pioneer—the Church in the South Pacific Division having no pastoral Auslan “speakers”.
“Becoming fluent in Auslan is important to me as a way to open up the opportunity to connect with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Seventh-day Adventist Church,” she said. “Statistically, this community is not represented in our churches, predominantly because there is no accessibly.
“As I have learnt more Auslan I have become more passionate about the language and the community. This opportunity to become formally qualified allows me to become another point of contact for Deaf members on a local church level.”
The basic provisions for the CSFBHI Personal Pursuit and Empowerment (PPE) scholarship include being 16 or older, planning to or already attending a recognised training/recreational program or entity and be connected to the Christian community.
CSFBHI, a ministry of Adventist Media, will provide another scholarship in 2019. The PPE has previously been awarded to Eyes for India, Deaf Church Downunder and a former WA Blind camp attendee training in the US for independent living.