Friends from Milton Keynes appeal for support as they volunteer to help school for deaf children in Fiji

Melissa Payne and Kirsty Gaffney
Melissa Payne and Kirsty Gaffney

Two friends from Milton Keynes are appealing for support as they plan to volunteer at a school for the deaf in Fiji.

Kirsty Gaffney and Melissa Payne, who are both deaf, will be helping children gain confidence as well as learning new skills.

Kirsty, 21, is a graduate of the Royal School of Needlework, where she studied for a BA (Hons) in hand embroidery for fashion, interiors and textile art, knowledge that she also plans to share during the trip in September.

She said: “I was born severely deaf and have learnt British Sign Language (BSL) and to lip-read very well which gives me access to two very different worlds – the hearing world and deaf one.”

The two pals will be volunteering at the Gospel School for the Deaf, getting involved in many activities such as teaching general subjects including BSL, and life skills, and they will be fundraising before they go.

They may also help decorate a new hostel being built, extending the accommodation from two existing buildings to three and also go food shopping for the children.

Kirsty added: “The idea is to be positive role models for them and influence the Fijian deaf children to gain confidence in communicating with the hearing world and achieve a more integrated life.

“We will use our own experiences to illustrate how to break down communication barriers by using a combination of sign language and English to communicate with the huge, wider world.

“We strongly believe deafness doesn’t stop us from achieving what we want to get, so we will encourage the children to gain confidence to become independent and have ambitions.

“We would appreciate if you could support our project by donating https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gospelschooldeaffiji