Consuelo is located in the Southeast part of the Dominican Republic, it has a population of approximately 65,000 people. The economy of Consuelo was based on the sugar cane factory, which left many of the residents jobless after it was closed down. Now most of the men work as motoconchos transporting people, water, or furniture on small motorcycles. Due to the poverty, many of the deaf students never attended school or learned sign language and had a very hard time communicating with those around them.
The exact percentage of deaf people in the Dominican Republic is unknown because the government has not completed a census but it is estimated that it is over 5%. Some of the causes of deafness: hereditary, poor prenatal care, premature delivery, meningitis, etc.
There are towns where some parents have 4 or 5 children who are all deaf or deaf and blind. We have several students that are siblings and cousins.