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Deaf Reach Wins the International Hamdan-ICESCO Award for Educational Development in the Islamic World


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Deaf Reach, a program of Family Educational Services Foundation (FESF), has become the first Pakistani organization to win the notable Hamdan-ICESCO Prize for Voluntary Development of Education Facilities in the Islamic world. The award recognizes individuals and organizations leading charitable and voluntary efforts in the field of education. It is a proud moment both for Deaf Reach and Pakistan.

Mr. Richard Geary, Founder and Director of Deaf Reach, received the award during a prestigious ceremony held on June 12, 2023, at the ICESCO Headquarters in Rabat, Morocco. The visionary efforts of Mr. Geary, Sitara-i-Khidmat, who has resided in Pakistan for over three decades, have been instrumental in transforming the lives of countless deaf persons in the country.

Dr. Salim M. Al Malik, Director-General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and H.H. Sheikh Rashed bin Hamdan Al Maktoum, Supreme President of the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance, awarded the prize to FESF along with the other two winners, from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Deaf Reach is one of the only branch networks of schools for the Deaf in Pakistan, and empowers both urban and rural deaf youth towards a better future. The program’s innovative and holistic approach focuses on education and skills training, development of teachers and interpreters, Pakistan Sign Language programs for parents and communities, advocacy, job placement, and the creation of digital educational resources for the Deaf.

The ICESCO team were particularly impressed with the work of Deaf Reach as it focuses on changing people’s lives, and not just institution building. The project stood out as having great impact due to its people and community-centered approach.

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