Prof. Decho Denev Secondary Specialized School for Hearing Impaired Children is the first school for hearing impaired children in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula. The school teaches children from across the country in general education curricula. The students also study special subjects – individual and group hearing and speech development classes, speech development, speech and object activities, phonetic rhythmics and motor skills, etc.
In early 2012, at the initiative of the school’s psychologist Radi Momcheva, a meeting with the Glob@l Libraries – Bulgaria Program Management Unit took place to discuss joint activities. She got well acquainted with the program and was impressed by the training for hearing impaired young people organized by the PMU in 2011 with the support of Open Interaction Association and Sofia City Library.
Ms. Momcheva said that “while the students from the school are strongly motivated to learn the latest novelties in the field of information and communication technology, the school does not have modern equipment. In addition, children need everyday access to the internet and literature but there is no school library. Although the majority of the children suffer from more than 90% hearing loss and use the sign language, their willingness to learn is strong”.
According to the school’s psychologist, an ICT training course would not only improve children’s technical skills, but would also enhance their self-confidence and willingness to continue learning after they graduate from secondary school.
The school stated its willingness to implement partnership activities with the program’s target library in Sredets Chitalishte (near the school) enabling students not only to use the chitalishte information center, but also to act as volunteers and assist library visitors.
In the period 23 – 27 March, the teacher’s room of Prof. Decho Denev School was transformed into an ICT training center. Eight students aged 16 – 19 years and two former students who are currently Library and Information Studies university students took part in the event.
The secretary and the librarian of Sredets Chitalishte attended the opening of the training, welcomed the participants and encouraged them to visit the library and the chitalishte. The two young Library and Information Studies students were invited to get involved as volunteers helping citizens in the information center of the library at Sredets Chitalishte.
The training program was custom made for the hearing impaired secondary school students. At the request of the participants, the topics of CV and motivation letter design and online job application were included in the program.
At the end of the training, the participants said they felt very comfortable, received abundant information and felt confident working with Windows 7:
“There are many useful things I learned but the most important thing for me is that now I know how to work with a computer.”
“I know how to search for jobs online.”
“I am happy that I took part. I think I will manage to find a job online after I graduate. It was perfect.”
Such feedback motivates the program team and the target libraries to continue implementing similar activities – expand the partnerships with organization and institutions targeted at young people with special needs and offer them relevant services.