Karen Goodman-Jones, Signal’s International Programmes Manager, witnessed some brilliant outcomes of the charity’s deaf awareness and communication projects in Malawi in November.
Karen was visiting the projects with Andy Kerr, Chief Executive of Sense Scotland. Signal and Sense Scotland have been cooperating on special educational needs in Malawi’s Northern Region for several years with funding from the Scottish Government.
Karen and Andy met with the charities’ project partners from CCAP (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian) and with community leaders, teachers, parents and deaf children. Here are some of Karen’s “magic moments”!
On Andy’s last day, we had a meeting with parents and their deaf children in the village of Chihame II. We were meeting to talk about what has changed, following the deaf awareness trainings with teachers and families.
Already at 9am the temperature was over 33ºC, so we waited at the meeting point in the shade of a massive old tree that genuinely must have been there in Dr Livingstone’s time!
Andy and I watched local children throwing stones to try to knock down mangoes from the nearby trees. We were so touched when they offered one to each of us!
Eliam hated school… Now he loves maths and wants to be a doctor.
The meeting was very interesting. One deaf boy, Eliam, used to hate school, because he was bullied by his classmates and ignored by the teachers.
But after the awareness and communication training, Eliam’s teacher now has the skills to help him in class. The teacher has integrated Eliam instead of separating him.
His classmates now accept him and help him in class too. They have even become his friend outside school. Eliam says he now likes school, especially mathematics, and wants to be a doctor!
Another magic moment
After the meeting, Andy and I offered sodas to the parents and their deaf children. This is the local way of thanking them for giving up their time to speak to us.
Then came another magic moment! It was another of the youngster’s, Bennet’s, first ever time to taste a soda. I don’t know who was smiling more – Bennet, his mum, Andy or myself! A good day all round.