Frank Musukwa gives his first-hand account of how our first workshop in Zambia for deaf children and their families unfolded this month. Frank, who is himself deaf, is Executive Director of our partners Zambia Deaf Youth and Women (ZDYW).
Signal and ZDYW are piloting awareness and communication training for families with deaf and hearing impaired children in the Copperbelt region of Zambia.
This pilot project draws on the experience of Signal’s work in neighbouring Malawi and also builds on our collaboration with ZDYW to train teachers in special educational needs.
The project directly involves the deaf children and their stories and arms parents and guardians with information and strategies for communicating with their children. It also offers help with small income generating schemes to assist with the costs of sending a child to school.
On day one, a dynamic local drama group enacted the hurdles faced by deaf children in everyday life (see headline photo). The deaf children, their education and how teachers and family members can engage with them positively were at the heart of the performance. The drama group brought to life messages around the children’s right to a good education and community support.
Parents participating in the workshop resolved to use the media to air challenges about attitudes towards and treatment of deaf people and to lead ad hoc lobbying and advocacy efforts facilitated by ZDYW. A local pastor also spoke to reinforce the positive messages.
My colleagues and I gave personal testimony of growing up in an environment of rejection and discrimination within the family. The parents were really touched and encouraged by how we have managed to overcome this discrimination and become role models to deaf children.
It was an awesome day!
On the second day of the workshop, parents participated eagerly in group work to address the challenges they face at home and in the community, bringing up a deaf child. It was an innovative day, with the impact already evidenced by the eagerness and zealousness of the parents. There was also hot debate on potential business plans.
Thank you to all the donors for their financial support for this project, which has proven to have a significant impact on both parents and children!
Discover what motivates our partners in Zambia to carry out their work in “The Wave Interview” at the end of Signal’s summer newsletter, by clicking here.