Listening with Compassion in the Philippines
Nehama Rogozen blogs from her station in the Philippines, where she contributes to community development as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Nehama is deaf and uses cochlear implants.
As a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, Nehama Rogozen has learned to listen with compassion—not in spite of the fact she is deaf but because of it. “I think growing up deaf has made me more empathetic in general to the struggles people go through,” she says.
Long before her service abroad, Nehama combined her interests in political and social justice issues with international exchange. Prior to her university studies, she spent a gap year in Israel, which she calls "the most controversial country in the world." She also cultivated a passion for international development while volunteering in India with American Jewish World Service.
In the Philippines, Nehama serves as a Youth Development Facilitator in the Children, Youth, and Families program of Peace Corps Philippines and works with a local beneficiary of World Vision, an international development NGO. Her work focuses on improving life skills in youth, capacity-building at the NGO, and working with the local community to improve the quality of life.
Nehama initially worried that her use of bilateral cochlear implants could disqualify her from Peace Corps service due to the strict medical requirements that volunteers must meet. Fortunately, Nehama received medical clearance with the condition that she would be placed in a country with a cochlear implant center. Although few implant centers exist in the developing world, the Philippines is an exception. But in addition to having access to implant centers, Nehama found that the country had much more to offer.
"The Philippines is a beautiful country, with friendly people, and enough socioeconomic issues to keep Peace Corps Volunteers busy!" she wrote. “Living in a developing country has exposed me to a wide range of issues I have not been exposed to before, but I have been able to empathize with others and learn from their point of view.”
Read Nehama's international exchange blogs:
Nehama is also featured in our AWAY Topics: Citizen Diplomats with Disabilities Issue.