Deaf Education in the Global South

Teresa Quail, Joy Rosenberg, Fred Marinus, Chris Kubwimana

Articles (Africa)



Robbert JH Ensink reviews the most commonly encountered syndromes with (de)pigmentation disorders, such as Waardenburg syndrome, frequently accompanied by profound sensorineural hearing loss. He looks at the clinical characteristics and genetics involved as well as the studies on hereditary causes in the schools of the deaf.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Stuart Harrison gives us an insight to his recent work with DeafKidz International which was founded in 2014 in response to the abuse of deaf children in sub-Saharan Africa. Today, DKI is emerging as the global leader for the protection and safeguarding of deaf children and young people centred on four key objectives: screening, communication, parents and families plus victims and survivors.

Emmie Wienhoven, Kentalis, Generous Kazinda, Uganda, and Ezra Nathanael Ntazoya, Tanzania, share details of their recent pilot project in Uganda and Tanzania. The final material and training supports teachers in delivering the national curriculum while using DHH specific strategies for teaching, tools for building language skills and tools for reading instruction.

Marie Ange Nimpaye shares her parent experience on raising two deaf children in Burundi from slowly realising her older daughter was deaf, to the breakthrough when she found a school for deaf children where she sent her daughter, to her husband learning sign language so he could communicate with his daughter and later the whole family being able communicate with their deaf son, and finally to becoming a founder member of a new parents association called the Association of Parents for the Education of Deaf Children in Burundi (APEES Burundi).

Kamala Achu, staff member with Disability Development Partners, explains about deaf education in Burundi and the first steps that need to be taken towards the development of a full sign language.

Purna Shrestha and Adewunmi Christabel Omolade describe their VSO (Volunteer Services Overseas) work in Nepal and Nigeria where both governments have endorsed the UNESCO definition of inclusive education, but show how, in reality, it is harder to support learners with disabilities and teaching and learning materials are not accessible for learners with disabilities and where there is no national sign language. However, VSO developed a sign language scheme of work to guide VSO volunteers in training teachers and learners on using American sign language correctly.

DR Congo
Ismael Byaruhanga, a PhD candidate at University of Cologne in Germany shares an interesting insight into deafblindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo including the case study of a family with seven children all with visual impairment who were not able to communicate properly with their parents but had developed their own form of tactile hands-on signing between siblings.

Ismael K Byaruhanga highlights the audiology service provision in his educational setting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the education of learners with hearing impairment is mainly perceived as a charitable service and was pioneered by non-governmental organizations and churches - he looks at the gaps in implementation of special needs education as well as the social stigma and the fact that there are only 2 trained audiologists serving a population of about 85 million.

Marian Nash, retired Teacher of the Deaf, shares details of an exciting new life working with deaf children in Egypt

Malcolm Garner shares some of his memories of travelling to and working in Gambia providing training courses for local teachers

Daniel Fobi, Joyce Fobi and Obed Appau share their professional reflections on deaf education in Ghana which goes from 1957 to the development of Ghanaian Sign Language and now there are 17 schools of the deaf and six tertiary institutions which provide training for teachers who are posted as special educators to support deaf children at the various special schools in the country.

Malawian teacher Joseph Kuphazi describes how training as a teacher of deafblind children in Kenya proved him with a rich and rewarding experience

Dr Courtney Caron reports on her work in Malawi with Sound Seekers who provide a comprehensive audiology service at Malawi’s largest hospital

Julie Gemmill, Trustee of Woodford Foundation Scotland, investigates the education opportunities for deaf and deafblind children in Malawi

Meera Rajasooriar provides a summary of Sound Seekers’ recent project to improve education as well as hearing and ear care provision in Malawi where children with disabilities are one of the most excluded groups. The project established comprehensive audiology services in Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and delivered mobile ear and hearing care outreach services to rural and remote areas in Southern Malawi.

Karen Goodman-Jones and Rita Hopper detail an inspiring and successful project raising deaf awareness among families and communities in Northern Malawi is helping deaf children to succeed in school. 

Sierra Leone
Catherine Healey, a frequent visitor to St Joseph’s School for the Hearing-Impaired, outlines deaf education in Sierra Leone
Links created between deaf students in two schools in very different countries Part 1
Links created between deaf students in two schools in very different countries Part 2

Jo Saunders compares the experience of hearing-impaired students in St. Joseph’s School in Makeni, Sierra Leone with that of her own students back in England.

From first-hand accounts and school visits, Patricia Gbetuwa, Siddie Kanu, Mustapha Kargbo and Romaine Ketekou have pieced together a history of deaf education in Sierra Leone

Julie Gemmill presents a very honest appraisal of her time spent as a volunteer teacher in Zambia

South Africa
The Eduplex mainstream school in Pretoria aims to educate deaf pupils alongside their hearing peers and provides an inclusion model that could serve as inspiration to many. Nico van der Merwe Sr and Susan Strauss reveal the details.
Enhancing resilience among deaf youth in South Africa

Yohanis Kilave summarises his research study on examination results of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) learners in Tanzania which aimed to determine whether the knowledge of sign language affected the writing skills of D/HH learners.

Ceilidh O'Sullivan, an Australian Teacher aide, describes her work as a Teacher of the Deaf in Uganda with the Boanerges Deaf Initiative

Eddie Mukaaya summarises his personal account of deafness in a country where there are no early intervention services and where few deaf children have the opportunity to attend school at all and those that do are left to sit comprehending nothing in a class, with teachers who are unaware of their learning needs. As his own daughter is deaf, he and his wife pioneered Hear His Voice Uganda, a not for profit non-governmental organization seeking to change the landscape of Ear and Hearing Care services in Uganda and demystify the impact of hearing loss on children, individuals, families and the community at large.

Bernadatte Namirembe shares an insight into deaf education in Uganda where deaf or physically impaired children are often unable to go to school and are regarded as ‘kasiru’ (meaning stupid), the teachers do not understand the needs of deaf children nor how they learn - however, since the Ugandan Government signed and ratified the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2008 there is hope for the future.

Alexandra Tomkins, PhD Candidate, shares an insight into her film project work in Uganda which started from the premise that deaf people have excellent visual perception; her current research uses film, photography, and other visual arts to investigate how deaf children in Uganda acquire knowledge.

Chris Haigh reports on what she learned about education for deaf children in Uganda whilst working with Mission Direct

Steve Kittur shares his heartfelt personal account as a father of a deaf child in Kenya, the frustration when specialists refused to recognise something was wrong and the lack of support even after a diagnosis of congenital deafness. Taking drastic action, they raised the money for a cochlear implant and travelled huge distances to get appropriate therapy and, finally, retraining to become a speech therapist himself he is now able to support not only his own child but many other deaf children as well.

Teresa Quail interviewed Rosie Gardner about her teacher training project in Nairobi which began when she went to visit Helen Moorehead’s school in a remote and poor area of Kenya and then continued as she then concentrated on raising money in the UK which paid for Nicholas, an audiologist, to visit the school and which later led to being able to pay for 25 Teachers of the Deaf to come to Nairobi for a day’s training.

Rosemary Gardner, a retired QToD, updates us on her current project work in Kenya which in 2019 included a one day training in Nairobi to Teachers of the Deaf, Speech Therapists and Audiologists but which in February 2020 became a 2-day conference again in the Rosa Mystica Spiritual Centre in Nairobi. Seven parents also came along which was wonderful as many of these parents have been key to moving things forward in this part of the world.

Rosemary Gardner describes her input at the Kamatungu School for the Deaf in Kenya

Summary of Nyabihu School for the Deaf, Rwanda, leaders’ UK-based 20-day-training experience.

Jemma Hogwood describes the work of Fair Children Youth Foundation (FCYF)

Isobel Blakeley and Teresa Quail describe a return visit to the UK, following Isobel’s VSO placement in Rwanda, by three individuals she had met – and to discuss how they could adapt some of what they saw in this country to their own situation in a very different environment.

East Africa
Rodney Clark, past CEO of Sense and current Chair of Deaf Reach UK, shares some background to deafblind provision in East Africa – Deafblind International (DbI) was established in 1976 and has always been a very strong worldwide network. He was its Secretary/Treasurer for 20 years and was in the privileged position of watching the growth of services, particularly education, across many developing countries during that time and was regularly approached by delegates from these countries seeking help at the most basic levels.

A summary from Teresa Quail of her visit to Rwanda and Uganda in February 2019 which was helped by the Mary Grace Wilkins Travel Scholarship during which she met many inspirational people who devote their lives to making a difference for and with deaf children, young people and their families and which enabled Teresa to reflect on how UK deaf educationalists could help develop relationships directly with a wider range of professional peers.

Teresa Quail gives an update on the impact of the hearing aid related donations made by BATOD members and colleagues from charity groups, deaf education associated businesses and local authorities and how she used her trip to set up hearing aids with soft tip moulds, whilst they still awaited hard moulds to arrive from the local Audiologist. She also introduced the Headteacher to a simple computer based audiogram to assist with monitoring changes in a student’s deafness profile and managed to also add on a visit to Kenya and start up a training programme within 24 hours of arrival with the help of Brother Peter and his colleagues.