Last week marked a significant milestone at Pikinini Playtime School in Port Vila, as the campus welcomed a distinguished guest, James Kerwin, an educator hailing from Queensland, Australia.

Mr. Kerwin, who was born deaf, defied all odds to attain a Bachelor of Theology, a Bachelor of Arts, and a postgraduate Diploma in Education.

His journey stands as a testament to the notion that disability does not hinder learning and growth.

Amidst a warm reception, deaf students at the school had the unique opportunity to interact with him, communicating effortlessly through sign language.

The encounter proved to be a source of inspiration, showcasing to the students that anything is possible with the right support and determination. It was heartening to discover that the deaf students are achieving commendable standards comparable to their peers in Australia.

On Friday, some of the deaf students accompanied Mr. Kerwin on a meaningful excursion to Lelepa Island, where they offered encouragement to a fellow deaf student and his family, Kerwin displayed that regardless of disability he has been able to maintain a normal life which proved very inspiring. Their journey continued to Rongdal, their sister school, where they met another deaf student.

The day concluded with a visit to the Blue Hole, where they encountered a 13-year-old deaf boy who had never experienced formal education—a moving reminder of the stark contrast in opportunities for deaf children in Vanuatu compared to elsewhere in the world.

At Pikinini Playtime School, the school is dedicated to “Breaking the Silence” and advocating for the rights of deaf children to access education and opportunities for growth. Pikinini Playtime firmly believes that deaf children can learn and succeed just like their hearing counterparts if provided with proper support and instruction in sign language.

As part of the school’s commitment to inclusivity, Pikinini Playtime is thrilled to announce the launch of Sign Language books on YouTube. This initiative aims to provide accessible resources for anyone interested in learning sign language, further reinforcing their belief in the potential of every individual, regardless of ability.

Pikinini Playtime offers placements for deaf students so financial barriers do not stop them from learning. The school is encouraging anyone who know of any deaf children who could benefit from the schools’ support to reach out to them.