I had the privilege to meet with Sister Marta from the Paul VI Ephpheta Institute for the deaf here in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, deafness is a common problem facing the Palestinian community. The incidence of deafness is approximately 3 percent, sometimes reaching as high as 15 percent in certain villages — a much higher percentage compared with other regions of the world.
CNEWA has sponsored the Ephpheta Institute since its founding over 40 years ago, helping the sisters, teachers and staff provide a quality education for deaf and hearing-impaired children throughout the Palestinian community. Sister Marta spent the afternoon showing us around the school and speaking about the challenges faced by these children. I could go on about the amazing work of these Sisters and the special life of the children they serve, but Sister Marta puts it better — listen to her talk about the importance of building trust and self-confidence in these children: