Deaf children at school in Malawi - Signal Charity

Andy Kerr goes back to school

Andy Kerr, Chief Executive of Sense Scotland, has recently returned from his first visit to Malawi and the special educational needs programme funded by the Scottish Government and Comic Relief.

Photo of Andy standing on a map of Malawi marked out with bricks

Andy stands on a map of Malawi

Cultural change

“My primary recollection is of the real difference and cultural change that is taking place as a result of the project. In the field, the team were incredibly impressive and the work they are undertaking is truly life-changing,” Andy reports.

Sense Scotland and Signal, together with their local partners, have been cooperating for over three years, delivering the programme in the Northern Region of Malawi. It is aimed at reaching children with hearing loss and ensuring that these children have the right and access to a quality primary education, in a country where education is still not available to all.

Working together

Photo of Andy with village elders in Malawi

Andy meets village elders

“The working together with the officials of the various education departments, the head teacher and teaching staff, the parents and children, as well as the local community is an extremely effective way in which to re-integrate hearing and visually impaired children into the education system and to allow them to play a full role in society,” Andy comments.

In a short and packed visit, Andy was able to meet the local project team and the parents, deaf and hearing impaired children, teachers and community leaders on the ground. Having read reports about the programme, this was his chance to see for himself what was happening.

Andy got first-hand experience of the deaf awareness and communication workshops for teachers and parents, led by the team. He also discovered inspiring examples of how individual school teachers and whole communities have embraced this training, benefiting the deaf children.

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