Steve Powell, Chief Executive of SignHealth, explained: “Our team in Uganda has spent the past 12 months establishing a specialist pre-school in Kampala to teach young Deaf children how to read and sign and it’s been very successful.
“Seventeen children, aged between three and six, have been able to achieve a good level of pre-school education.
“The team will now begin working alongside a further three schools to set up pre-school classrooms for more Deaf children.
“They will provide early intervention programmes for pre-school children at St Mark VII Primary School, Good Samaritan School for the Deaf, Masaka School for Special Needs and Uganda School for the Deaf, which SignHealth Uganda works in close partnership with.”
The programmes, being delivered through SignHealth Uganda, will help to reduce stigma and isolation associated with deafness among families and communities, increase accessibility to mainstream schools for Deaf children in Masaka and Kampala, and help long-term integration of pre-schools into schools for the Deaf.
Steve added: “This early intervention will help more Deaf children to obtain an education and increase their chances of eventually becoming economically independent adults. During the second year of this project, 60 children will directly benefit from attending pre-schools.
“The project is vital as without pre-school education most Deaf children are unable to communicate at all.
“This is because their families do not have the resources to learn sign language and they don’t understand the importance of learning how to communicate effectively with their child. Consequently the youngsters are left isolated, dependent on their families and have little prospect for the future.”
SignHealth Uganda works hard to improve the quality of life for Deaf children and adults in Uganda.
Its programme focuses on educational workshops for young Deaf people and their families, access to healthcare through training health professionals in communication and awareness of Deaf people, and community and support groups to operate and advocate effectively.
SignHealth is the national healthcare charity for Deaf people, providing health-related services and campaigning for fair access and improved communication.
To find out more about SignHealth Uganda, please visit www.signhealthuganda.org.