Establishment of junior high school for the Deaf in need for more funding; lugger men support fund raising

Deaf children distribute flyer for monetary donation
at the Rugby Football Ground in Tokyo

A private school for the Deaf in Tokyo, called Meiharu Gakuen, is the only school in Japan that offers the Deaf children the education in Japanese Sign Language (JSL).

Meiharu Gakuen started as a free school in 1999 and was admitted as a school in the designated structural reform district in April, 1908. It currently offers the kindergarten program and the elementary education to 37 Deaf children.

Seven fifth graders as the eldest group are attending. To enroll them further, the school has planned to establish a junior high school division.

As a condition to form the junior high school division, the Tokyo government has told the school to collect the sum of 30 million yen as a formal school management organization by June, 2009. However, the collected sum from fund-raising is 3.89 million yen so far, and the school officials are worried about the lack of funding.

The 11 rugby clubs that belong to "The East Japan Top Club League" learned the financial problem and offered the support. They have helped the Deaf Rugby League. They said they wanted the wish realized. "We want the Deaf children to be educated in their own language."

On February 7, the first Japanese championship round game was held in Tokyo. In the rugby field, fifteen backup players and the 5th graders distributed a handmade flyer calling for donation.

The fund-raising was continued in the rugby field every week until the Japanese championship final day on February 28.

The education through JSL is highly valued among the Deaf children, They say, "The class in JSL is quite easily understood". The 5th graders have eagerly hoped for the junior high school division to be established by all means.

Source in Japanese:

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