Maya Penn Reaches Deaf Students Through Virtual Service Pilot
As the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted learning in schools, one Volunteer made a difference by teaching deaf children in Kenya and training their teachers online.
Hi, I am Maya Penn. It’s been nearly eight years since the Peace Corps Volunteers served in Kenya, due to a suspension and interruptions exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that saw Peace Corps suspend all its programs globally. I volunteered in Ghana as an educator and taught deaf children.
The demand for Peace Corps services continues to soar as gaps widen in math and science in Kenya’s education system. The gap is even wider among children with disabilities, and Peace Corps Volunteers have helped mitigate the challenges of access to education. I was excited when I discovered that there were positions for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to work in schools for the deaf. After video conversations with Peace Corps Volunteers and administrators, I applied, interviewed, and was accepted into the program.
Through the Peace Corps Virtual Service Pilot (VSP), about six volunteers – I am one of them – have provided teaching and learning skills to deaf educators and more than 300 deaf children at Kenya’s Maseno School for the Deaf. Our virtual participation has helped them improve their mathematics and science skills, and with initiatives such as PEPFAR and SPA grants, they will be able to access training and information on healthy life choices.
You can be a part of VSP, too, and serve across the globe if you apply for Peace Corps service. Log on to www.peacecorps.gov/kenya for more information on the program in Kenya.