Leave no one behind: photo of African school children outdoors

Leave no one behind

Deafness and hearing loss can be disabling wherever you live. Communication difficulties and lack of understanding can throw up barriers to services like education or to social interaction. You can become withdrawn or discriminated against or simply ignored.

When world leaders come together in September to agree global goals to end poverty and reduce inequalities, they are expected to specifically pledge that “no one will be left behind”. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will build on goals set at the start of the millennium.

The previous goals have brought about much progress in tackling poverty. However, this progress has tended to bypass vulnerable groups, not least people with disabilities.

For example, the number of children of primary school age worldwide who are not in school has almost halved since 2000. However, it is estimated that one in three children not in school has a disability.

1 in 3 out-of-school children in the world has a disability

The new goals will include the ambition to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Signal already works with its partners in Africa to do just this for children with hearing impairments.

We support extra skills for mainstream teachers and preschool and vocational learning. We provide communication strategies and change negative attitudes towards deafness in communities. All this should help deaf children increase their chances of employment and independence in the long term.

Leave no one behind: photo of older British people with hearing aidsThe new goals will also seek to “Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. This global ambition and the idea of leaving no one behind is just as valid in the UK.

Here over 10 million people have some form of hearing loss. Due to the ageing population, this figure is estimated to rise to 14.5 million by 2031, putting greater numbers of people at risk of social isolation.

By 2031 there will be 14.5m people with hearing loss in the UK

At home Signal’s outreach service supports deaf and hard of hearing people emotionally and practically. Through sign and spoken language we help people build confidence and take control of their lives, work which will be expanded by our new befriending scheme.

Whether at home or overseas, thank you for helping us ensure that people with all forms of hearing loss are not left behind!

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