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June 21, 2003

Brave deaf teacher risks life for pupils

From: Norwich Evening News, UK - Jun 21, 2003


A STUDENT who has spent two years in the Middle East teaching deaf children today told how he risked his life to stay with them during the war in Iraq.

Paul Scott, who is deaf himself, had been advised by the British Embassy in Jordan to leave the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf and fly back to Britain.

But the 22-year-old realised he could not leave the youngsters to face the uncertainties of the conflict alone, and elected to remain.

Paul, whose family lived in Old Catton before moving to Watton in Norfolk, said he had received the advice from the embassy in February.

His friend Scott, who was working out in Jordan with Paul as an English teacher, decided to fly home, but Paul was in a dilemma.

"At that moment I was faced with a problem because I could choose to stay and be at risk, or I could choose to go back to UK and be safe," he said.

"I came to my decision because of the deaf children and my work as an English teacher. I felt strongly that I could not leave them and give up my work.

"My family was worried about me staying, but I felt that I would be safe, so thankfully in time they accepted my decision."

Paul and the other teachers at the school kept to their regular routines when war broke out to make sure their pupils, aged between five and 25, remained calm.

He said: "When the war broke out, things did remain "normal" in the school and everyone was doing what they usually do because it was important for the children to see that there was nothing to worry about even though there were problems.

"There were reports of a couple of attempted bombings in Amman so I did not go to Amman much. I just stayed in the school in Salt and continued doing my job.

"I took on more work to keep myself busy so I didn't have to think about the problems and feel alone."

Paul will be returning to Britain on Mond

But after a summer break with them he wants to go back out to Jordan to carry on with his teaching.

His placement was funded by the Jack Ashley Millennium Awards, a scheme run by the National Deaf Children's Society.

But now he needs to raise some more cash in order to continue working at the school.

"I don't have a salary, but work as volunteer, and I need to have some money to enable me to pay for my flight and insurance and some pocket money so I can go back and help the school."

If you would like to help Paul, donations can be sent to him via the Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE. Cheques should be made payable to Paul Scott.

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