Jonathan and Martha in Malawi wish to have friends and go to school, but lack of understanding about their hearing loss closed down their worlds. Signal was chosen to make one of this year’s BBC Radio 4 Appeals in support of children like these.
Broadcaster Sybil Ruscoe, who presents and reports on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today and whose own family has experience of hearing loss, read Signal’s appeal and told Jonathan’s story.
Thirteen-year-old Jonathan has been unable to hear since early childhood and felt alone. He said, “Whatever teachers were teaching could not ring a bell in my heart. I had a strong feeling that school was only meant for those who could hear properly. I had no friends.”
Jonathan’s world was transformed when he and his teachers received training delivered by Signal’s local partner CCAP. He is now able to lipread and teachers gained skills to support him in the classroom.
Jonathan said, “For the first time I got a 79% pass in English, and I do see a brighter future ahead of me. I became friends with everyone. This has brought joy into my life.”
Fifteen-year-old Martha suffered from a bad ear infection and was called the “deaf girl” by her parents. They pressurised her to leave school so they could arrange for her to get married.
“I was surely rescued from an early marriage,” Martha said.
Thanks to many generous donations, our BBC Radio 4 Appeal has raised £16,000 towards our work supporting children with hearing loss in Africa. One donor told us, “I have a son called Jonathan of the same age. All kids deserve a chance!”
£45 can pay for the training needed to support a child into education. If you would like to help children like Jonathan and Martha, you can still contribute to our appeal by cheque or through our donation page. Thank you!