In 2021, our project in Uganda supported 3,642 people, including children and young people who are Deaf, their families and their teachers.
Another year of Covid-19 has meant more lockdowns, school closures, travel restrictions and evening curfews in Uganda, making it difficult for the team to reach communities and Deaf children and young people. To combat this, Sign Health Uganda began training teachers from across different districts in safely carrying out home visits.
During the visits, teachers were able to assess the needs of families, observe their current level of deaf awareness and see what support they needed. It also meant they were able to deliver schoolwork, share information about Covid-19 and provide support to children who were struggling. One teacher alone was able to reach 49 families during the year, whilst another helped to identify and refer a Deaf girl who was unwell to her local hospital.
One teacher visited Suzan, a 10-year-old girl with hearing loss. During her first visit, it became clear that Suzan had no understanding of Covid-19 or why her school was shut. Her parents had been trying to explain but unfortunately didn’t know sign language. Her mother said, “when I try to demonstrate to wash her hands, she comes with a plate expecting food or wonders why she is being asked to wash them when she hadn’t been to the toilet.”
The teacher explained to Suzan about Covid-19 and the reasons why she was not currently able to go to school. Suzan’s mother said her daughter is excited when the teacher visits and she can see her communication improving. “During our free time in the evening, we use the sign language chart given by the teacher to practice some signs and I am getting closer to Suzan every day that passes.”
Susan and her teacher practicing hand washing techniques