Darul A’shom school in Yogyakarta opened its gates in 2019 to cater to children with hearing disabilities. It is the first Islamic boarding school in Indonesia that helps students study and recite from the Qur’an using sign language. The students are also provided with formal education along with their religious studies.
Abdul Kahfi, the founder of Darul A’shom Islamic Boarding School, hopes that the school will make it easier for future generations to learn about Islam. “Nowadays hearing-impaired adults barely know religion in depth because they have never learned about it in their youth”. The Darul A’shom school now has 12 staff members and 115 students aged between 7 and 28 years from across the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.
Only three out of 10 children with disabilities in Indonesia are able to go to school, according to a survey by the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF). The curriculum in public schools provides limited religious teaching to children with special needs. This concerned Abdul Khafi which led to Darul A’shom’s foundation that caters to students from various provinces in Indonesia.
“Now I am able to read and memorize 30 juz [parts] of the Quran,” said Muhammad Farhad, a 10-year-old student, who said he wanted to become a cleric one day so he can pass on his knowledge to others.
Indonesia has tens of thousands of Islamic boarding schools and other religious schools that often provide the only way for children from poorer families to get an education. As such, the schools also rely on third-party funding to run smoothly.