When passion and courage motivate education
Tomás Moro already said it in the Utopia, when he thought that for the creation of a better society a profound reformism had to be applied, radical in its analysis and ambitious in its goals.
In the Dominican Republic, this way of thinking is led by Maria Battle, a creative self-taught woman aged over thirties, whose passion for the deaf young people in the country has led her to create a foundation based on the use of science and art to improve these people’s life.
Mary is not one of these people who theorizes and does not put her feet on the ground. For this reason, her first experience was not to use her voice in two months, then practice what she preaches and be a student at the National School for the Deaf in Santo Domingo for several months. Thus, being considered as an equal, as a classmate, the boys had enough confidence to tell her the true problems that deaf people face in the country.
Therefore, since 2013, María has become the voice of the voiceless ones. She is the leader of a more inclusive and egalitarian society, where true understanding does not require words. Its foundation is the extension of its own identity. This identity allowed her to leave the world of advertising, to which she was successfully devoted, to go into the human field.
The Muse Seek and EN-SEÑA are two initiatives besides Maria foundation, two protective and emotional projects, which pretend, through art and science, to have an impact on the development of deaf people.
The Muse Seek is an experience to bring music to the deaf. It is an open space where deaf teenagers break the conventionalism and enjoy music in a sensorial way. How to do it? Through the sounds of humpback whales. Whales make up their songs pretty much the same way we do as humans. There are rhymes, verses, rhythm and variations. It is not about random sounds, but predictable and original ones at the same time. The reasons why whales sing is still a mystery to science. That's why, they used the help of hydrophones with SubPac, a technology that transmits the sound directly to their body creating a physical experience of music.
EN-SEÑA is an exchange program where listeners who take bilingual secondary education learn sign language from the deaf people and these later, in turn, teach them English. The student is the center of the whole learning process and creativity is the engine that moves everything.
Paradoxes of life, Mary is self-taught. However, one of the most important universities in the world, Harvard, receives her one week a year to share her learning experiences with the best specialists and Stanford has requested her collaboration for its lab of innovation and peace. The New York Journal and La Opinión of Los Angeles have described her as a hurricane that is revolutionizing education for the deaf in the country and worldwide, since her methodology had not been applied before.
The Muse Seek has been presented as a successful case in the Education Lab at Columbia University, in the Music Lab at the New York University (NYU), at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, at the Institute of Technology of the New Jersey and at The Dolphinity World Festival held in the Canary Islands, among other international events.