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Project Report

Provide two sign language interpreters for deaf students

Fiji | RUN BY: Fiji Association of the Deaf | Status: completed
Kasanita interpreting for Form 4 students in the classroom
The funding that Footprints provided  was used to help pay interpreters at the Gospel High school thus deaf students benefited from this service and get access to High school education.

Deaf form 5 students at Gospel High School, Fiji

Form 4 deaf students Joseph, Taraivosa, Taman and Esita (interpreter)


1. Deaf Students got access to information in the classroom.  One of the deaf students topped the whole Form 4 students in Math.

2. Sign Language was added to the school curriculum. This created a job opening for a Deaf Teacher. Hearing students and teachers showed great interest in learning thus enabling them to communicate to the deaf students. The deaf students felt more comfortable in school. Students even have an interest in taking up interpreting as a profession.

3) Parents of these deaf students are more proud now that their deaf child is in high school. This is a big development for Fiji as a whole. The parents show up in school for other school programs such as sports, art festivals etc. The parents and families now take an interest in sign language to communicate with their child.

Form 5 Deaf Students: Loraini (interpreter), Melania, Asinate

Project Challenges:

1. Interpreting is a tiring job and because of health risks it is always ideal to have two interpreters doing a whole days work. Unfortunately in Fiji due to a lack of qualified interpreters and lack of funding there can only be one interpreter per class.

2. Due to exhaustion and lack of professionalism, interpreters are frequently absent and finding a substitute can be very difficult  because of lack of funds and because other qualified interpreters have full time jobs. We are often forced to resort to people who only have knowledge of sign language.

3. There are not enough resources or qualified personnel to conduct continuos professional development workshop to enhance the skills of interpreters


The Fiji Association of the Deaf and the Gospel High school work well together. The Fiji Association looks for funds to pay interpreters with a supporting letter from the school and whatever funds that come are transferred to the school. The Association has also assigned a supervisor to the school to assess interpreters in the classroom and arrange for substitutes. The school is responsible to draw up the interpreters’ contract of employment. The interpreters are under the authority of the Gospel High School.

Comment from Kasanita, School Interpreter:

"This job is a new experience for me. I’m thankful to God that I can be an instrument used to help deaf students.

It can be very tiring at times because of the long hours and especially since there are no formal signs for many vocabularies used in the classroom. As for the pay, I should be grateful that I have a job and earn something compared to my many unemployed families, but because of the increase in food prices sometimes I find it difficult to make ends meet.

The reason I’m still working as an interpreter is because I want these Deaf students to succeed.  I’m grateful however to organisations that deems our work a worthy cause to support financially. "

Plans for the future:

This project will continue as long as there are deaf students continuing into high schools. In the coming years many more deaf students will be going into high schools and tertiary institutions.

The aim for the Fiji Deaf Association is to strengthen the current Sign Language class program held at both the Association and the school so that many will become fluent signers. The second aim is to conduct another Interpreter training Course to meet the growing demand of interpreters in mainstreamed schools and tertiary institutions. To do this, we need to look for funds to pay the facilitator who may come from either New Zealand or Australia, resource materials and the venue.

(Report posted by: Leona Tamainai, 12 January  2009)

Original project proposal >>


Fundraising status

Project cost:(AUD) 9,840.00




Thanks to the following people who have contributed to this project.

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D.Ahearn E.amoroso jr R.Athias M.Barron D.Beath A.Cardona G.Cleary J.Gibbens J.Glover B.Healy G.Holleran K.Igarashi H.Lang D.Maunsell K.McCallum M.McGill A.McLachlan V.pietrantonio P.Rolon D.Ross M.Simpson S.Smith M.Song J.Staniforth C.Torres B.Tran P.WICHITANURAK J.Woudstra