Our work with Sense Scotland to help deaf children in Malawi enjoy a better start in life is underpinned by strong partnerships with the local special educational needs team and our funders in the UK.
In a show of appreciation for the Scottish Government’s long-term support for the work, the team on the ground in Malawi has designed a special wooden plaque. The hand-carved plaque reads “Thanks to Scottish Government” and features two hearing impaired children (HIC) to symbolise the young lives that are being changed.
Signal’s International Programmes Manager, Karen Goodman-Jones, was happy to present the plaque to Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon inside the Scottish Parliament last week (pictured above). Scotland has a longstanding friendship with Malawi, and the Scottish Government has supported the deaf awareness programme in Malawi’s Northern Region since 2009 and has committed funding to the project for a further three years.
The programme seeks out previously ignored or stigmatised deaf children, sensitises communities to the needs of the children and helps schools and teachers embrace deaf learners. In Mzuzu, the capital of the Northern Region, the special educational needs resource centre is a shining example of the work to provide a quality education for children with hearing impairments. The children can receive the extra support they need at the centre, while also taking part in mainstream schooling.
Further demonstrating the friendship enjoyed by Scotland and Malawi, the Deputy Director of Special Needs Education at the Ministry of Education in Malawi, David Njaidi, is currently completing a Master’s degree on inclusive education in special needs at Edinburgh University. David, himself blind, is also a valued friend of the deaf awareness programme in northern Malawi. He will return to his post in Malawi in the summer.