This month, we are celebrating as one of our Ugandan projects comes to an end. Implemented by our partners Signhealth Uganda, the project gave deaf young people the skills and experience they needed to find employment.
Negative attitudes and behaviours towards deaf people means many do not have a formal education, which prevents them from enrolling into vocational training centres. Deaf people can be viewed as incapable of working and learning, meaning employers often do not want to hire them. It can also be difficult for deaf people to communicate with colleagues and customers because so few people know sign language. This combination of education, communication skills and low expectations of deaf people diminishes their chances of finding work and earning an income.
This project was able to offer 152 participants a work placement with a local business, where they received vocational training, mentoring and hands-on experience. They could choose which trade to pursue from several options including catering, hairdressing, car washing, paper manufacturing and welding. Throughout their placement, they were also trained in enterprise and finance skills in order to run their own start-up. Afterwards they received a certificate to show to potential employers and a start-up kit with equipment to help them succeed in their new role.
Those who participated in the project are now earning an income, either through being employed or by establishing their own businesses. Eight new business ventures are set up and managed entirely by young people (including Prossy’s beauty salon, pictured above). Not only does this mean they are now able to earn an income, but they are also able to act as role models and mentors for other deaf people at work. Through this project, participants have been able to show host business and community members that they are very capable of working. Staff at the host businesses in particular had a big change in their perception, saying they would now be open to recruiting deaf employees in the future.
We are very proud of the successes of this project and would like to say thank you to our partners Signhealth Uganda and to our funders the National Lottery Community Fund.
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