St Anthony’s School, Uganda
Imagine you are born into a family, into a world, where you cannot communicate. You cannot tell anyone your hopes and dreams or even your nightmares. No one can comfort you or tell you how things might be different. You will spend your whole life unable to make friends, go to school or earn a living. Without sign language and an education, this is what life is like for deaf children born into hearing families in the developing world.
The effects of having no access to language and communication are disastrously detrimental to physical and emotional health. The impact of exposing these children to sign language and giving them the opportunity to make friends and to learn is invaluable, and it is something that will be shared and developed for years to come.
In Uganda, attitudes towards Deafness are poor. Children who are Deaf are seen as a curse and hidden away, out of sight. In a country where poverty levels are so high they are seen as a burden and are not cared for by members of the family, some are in danger of harm and abuse. Many of the children at the school are orphans; through poor maternal health care, a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS or through rejection and abandonment by their parents. The school not only provides hope for the future for these children but increases awareness of Deafness in the surrounding communities.
St Anthony’s School, Uganda provides an education in Ugandan Sign Language and English for over 50 Deaf children – without this school most of the pupils would never have the opportunity to learn how to communicate at all.