Friends of the Deaf
LAVOSI (Las Voces del Silencio)
Like so many, Chris Tackett came to La Antigua Guatemala to learn Spanish, but gradually Antigua, and a growing interest in the plight of the deaf here, lured him to become a full-time resident. He met Álvaro de León C. (a teacher of 30 years) and his son Álvaro who is deaf. Álvaro Jr. received a scholarship from USAID to study at Mount Aloysius College in the U.S. and has published volume I of his textbook Guatemalan Sign Language and is currently working on volumes II and III.
In June 2009, Álvaro Jr. and his father presented their idea to Chris about starting a local school for the deaf. In order to raise funds and awareness for Las Voces del Silencio (LAVOSI), Chris returned to the States to establish the non-profit Friends of the Deaf. Álvaro’s idea became a reality as a school in Antigua for hearing-impaired students opened its doors in January 2010.
The staff of five teachers is dedicated to helping children become happy, productive and respected citizens through encouragement, education and example. Freddy E. de León C. (also hearing impaired) is an extraordinary local artist who is setting a positive example at the school. Visiting teachers and artisans also provide new experiences for the students.
The Friends of the Deaf school strives to remind the general public that deafness doesn’t imply helplessness.
The 2010 curriculum includes technical classes, computer literacy, courses in baking and multi-media art, all of them offering potential career opportunities; plus standard elementary classes and practice in Guatemalan Sign Language.
Our first wish is to be welcoming and open to the community of Antigua and to receive visitors and volunteers. Supplies to assist teachers as well as donations are always gratefully accepted.
For more information:
Friends of the Deaf (LAVOSI)
Valle de Santiago, No. 29-A
La Antigua Guatemala
Tel/fax: (502) 7832-5852