Francisco Antonio Hernández recently defended his thesis for an MA in Sociology of Development, with an emphasis on community organizing. His thesis describes the work the Sister Islands Association has done with people in the deaf community on Ometepe. He passed with a 90% rating.
Francisco coordinates and oversees all of the Sister Islands Association’s activities and projects involving people in the special needs community on Ometepe. That includes people who are blind, deaf and challenged with mobility. He would also assist those with Down syndrome or on the Autism Disorder Spectrum, but no one with these issues are in the program now. For meetings involving the deaf community, Francisco relies on Cláribel to interpret.
To help blind people, Francisco teaches computer skills and Braille in the office, and he also visits people in their homes to supplement those sessions. He taught people in the blind community how to make decorative baskets and they now operate a business selling those. He coordinates the Ometepe goal ball team, and they participate in the tournaments in Managua several times each year. Francisco also teaches chess to blind people, and he leads trips off island so they can participate in national chess tournaments. H also offers orientation and mobility training to help blind people to find their way around their local communities and venture farther afield. He is always on the lookout for people in the special needs community who aren’t yet connected with the Sister Islands’ programs.