Our work with Sense Scotland to help deaf children in Malawi get an education is expanding into new areas, reaching even more children! This is all thanks to the long-term support and commitment of the Scottish Government to funding this work.
Scotland has a longstanding friendship with Malawi, and the Scottish Government has supported our deaf awareness programme in Malawi’s Northern Region since 2009. The programme’s unique approach is to seek out deaf children who are not in education, sensitise communities to their needs and help schools and teachers embrace diversity and learners with special educational needs.
Only a few weeks after his appointment as Project Manager for this exciting new phase of the programme, Bonface Massah and the rest of the programme team held an official launch in the new areas which will now benefit for the first time. The communities in these areas have awaited the programme with great anticipation, because they have seen it working elsewhere in their region.
Bonface writes, “The launch of the programme in the four districts has been a success and we have good support from the District Councils. The programme fits in well in the education plans of the Districts and will complement government efforts.”
The programme’s approach of focusing directly on the children with hearing impairments and their families, as well as their schools and communities, was applauded by those attending the launch event.
Voice of the deaf child
One participant in the launch noted, “I think it is a good programme. I have liked the way the activities have been presented targeting the community and children. We need to have the voice of the affected children so that we can then address the challenges they face.”
The event also captured the imagination of the media, with strong interest and attendance – with representatives from Zodiak Radio, Mzimba Community Radio, Capital Radio and the Malawi News Agency.
Bonface was delighted by this interest and noted, “The media remain a crucial sector to understand disability issues, as they are a good advocacy tool to sensitise the community, and their involvement in the programme will help to improve the way of reporting issues of disability in the Northern Region.”
We will be following progress closely, as the programme expands into the new areas. Thanks again to the Scottish Government for believing in this work and following through!