Meet Meri Hirose

May 20, 2013 in Escuela Sordomudos, The Zona Verde, Programs, SordoMudos

After several years, the Patronato Benéfico Oriental has the honor of renewing a relationship with JICA, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.  It was the same organization who in 1993 sent some of the first permanent volunteers to the Hogar del Niño, effectively beginning our Volunteer Program.

Now, JICA has sent volunteer Meri Hirose to work in the School for the Deaf at Hogar, for a period of two years.  Meri is a volunteer specialist in sign language, with extensive study and experience in Deaf culture.

(photo courtesy of

In spite of also being Deaf, Meri reads and writes Japanese, Spanish and English.  She has an extensive work history with foundations across the world: in her native Japan, in the Philippines, the United States—and now the Dominican Republic.  She has travelled to over 40 countries, where she has constantly striven to work with and for Deaf  individuals like herself, to instill in them a sense of pride and show them that this disability does not have to be a barrier to achieving success and realizing your dreams.

The PBO is proud to welcome Meri at the Hogar and is thankful for JICA’s valuable support.

Thank you Meri for being PBO!!

Question & Answer with Meri:

Where are you from in Japan?

I came here from Tokyo!

How long have you worked with JICA?

I have been a volunteer to JICA for 2 years now.

 What countries have you traveled to?

I’ve been to 40 countries. I have not been to Africa and Central Asia or Middle East yet.

 What is your work here at Hogar?

I am teaching deaf children basic independent living skills such as cleanliness, health and things like tying own shoes.  I also teach basic DR sign language.

 What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to instill Deaf Pride among my students.  I want to see that Deaf children after they finish school that they can lead an independent life.

How long have you been in DR?

4 months.

What do you like most about DR so far?

I love DR dance and the beach. They’re awesome!

 Anything else you want to say or share?

Lets make dreams come true.  Yes, we can do it!