From giraffes to shock absorbers, mushrooms and singing in a school choir, Signal’s International Programmes Manager, Karen, gives just an overview of her recent monitoring visit to Uganda…
The start of a new programme is always an exciting time for partners both here in the UK and more importantly in-country, as we anticipate how it will change lives. While developing new activities, our long-term partners in Uganda, Signhealth Uganda, continue to deliver innovative workshops and training which challenge negative attitudes towards deafness within families, schools and communities. This sustained work gives hearing impaired and deaf children the opportunity to access a quality and relevant primary education on a par with their hearing classmates.
During this monitoring trip, I was able to visit new areas reached by our deaf awareness and communication programme and also re-acquaint myself with our long-term partners and supporters in different parts of the country.
A visit to Arua in the Northern region – with a travelling time of over seven hours, driving through stunning landscapes peppered with giraffes and antelopes – afforded the chance to meet local health workers, education officials and a support group for parents and guardians bringing up children with hearing impairments.
There was also the opportunity to meet the members of an active deaf youth organisation. This organisation campaigns for rights and access to services and it includes internally displaced people and refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. All this, as well as witnessing the inventive and skilled driver/mechanic fix a damaged shock absorber with rope en route…
In Masaka in the south west, I met Betty, famous for her mushroom growing and income generating skills, and a Ugandan Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinician who has volunteered his time to treat children with foreign bodies blocking their ears.
I met some of these children whose hearing has been restored and learned from their teachers and families what a difference this has made, including, being able to join the school choir. A wide and mixed variety of foreign bodies were removed, including, cockroaches, beans, seeds and stones, some of which had been there for a number of years!
Among our long-term supporters, I was pleased to meet the Mayor of Masaka, who continues to back the work of Signhealth Uganda. Thank you to the team for hosting my trip and giving their time and knowledge so generously! It is always a privilege to visit and have the chance to observe first-hand what a difference the programmes are making.
Do look out for more news about our work in Uganda over the coming weeks, here on our website.