Zambia Deaf Youth and Women is a disabled people’s organisation that advocates for the rights of deaf people. Frank Musukwa, the Executive Director, reports back on one parent’s experience of attending the family awareness and communication training that ZDYW ran in August…
Family awareness training
Justine Simwala (pictured signing above) is a young parent from Kitwe in Zambia’s Copperbelt region. Justine attended our family awareness and communication training that we ran in partnership with Signal.
At the training, Justine and his son learnt a lot about deafness, including the causes of hearing loss and the discrimination around deafness. We also taught them new communication methods like signing and finger-spelling. You can read about the training in my last blog here.
Inclusive education is better education
A month after the training, I visited Justine and his family at home to see what difference the training had made. I asked him to sum up what he had learnt.
“From meeting with other parents at the training, I learnt that it is better to educate your child than to keep them at home.
Before, when I looked at my child, I thought that this was the end of their journey in life as a deaf child. I didn’t realise schools existed that would take deaf children.
Support from other parents who had deaf children made me realise that there was a way out for my child.
Now, my child is in school. They don’t feel separated from other children, because they learn with fellow pupils and feel counted. Inclusive education is better education!”
Everyone at Zambia Deaf Youth and Women was really happy to learn that Justine’s son was now happily attending school again!
Parent support groups
At the family training, Justine also joined the Kitwe parent support group. We helped them create a business plan to support their deaf children. The group decided to keep chickens and we gave them a small grant to get set up. A month on, the Kitwe parent support group had 200 chicks!
Keep an eye on the Signal website for updates on their progress and for more about our work in Zambia.