Eliza—A Dedicated Teacher

October 1, 2012

In Ozamiz City {approx. population 180,000} there is one government school dedicated to children with special needs.  Eliza Cebedo is one of the teachers at the school.

I am Eliza Cebedo, and I have been teaching hearing-impaired children for the last six years. I studied for my degree at Immaculate Conception College in Ozamiz City. My parents could not afford the school fees, but I applied and was accepted as a working student in the college. I worked part- time in the library and was exempted from paying school fees. I remain always grateful for the help and encouragement I received from the Columban Sisters. The Sisters administered Immaculate Conception College at the time.

After graduation I started teaching in an elementary school in Ozamiz City. In 2003 I was asked to go to Davao City where I spent six months learning how to teach the hearing impaired children. I also trained in sign language. At present I have nine pupils–five boys and four girls. I teach them sign language and lip reading. There are many children who would like attend, but they live far away from the school and their parents cannot afford the cost of travel to and from our school.

Imagine in the whole of Ozamiz this is the only school of its kind? The department of education gives us very little funds. As a result, we rely on the charity of concerned groups and individuals. At present, we have 48 differently-abled children in our school.All of the children come from poor homes, and they are often malnourished.

I taught in elementary school for eighteen years before working with the hearing impaired children. But I really enjoy my work now! My emotions are with the children, because our society does not take care of them. They are often forgotten. I am grateful for the support from my fellow teachers and concerned people in our community.

The work is demanding, but I have found my calling in life! I enjoy being with the children and seeing them develop and grow.

From an interview by Columban Fr.Oliver McCrossan and Eliza.