Deaf Business Group – Fort Portal

Deaf Business Group – Fort Portal

Deaf Business Groups (DBGs) are a DLU initiative aimed at securing self-employment among young deaf people who have acquired skills in crafts, weaving, farming and agriculture, tailoring, etc. The programme enables the deaf become productive and valuable members of society. It also enables them capable of making a variety of products for sell.

A home-based group

DLU’s Deaf Business Groups are involving parents and families of the deaf as key partners for economic development. The DBG – Fort Portal, a home-based group of five women, has made a variety of crafts for sell in intricate and beautiful designs.

This project is located in Mugura village at the home of 76 year-old Oliva Nyindombi (lead artisan) who generously availed her home (free of cost) for the working group, meeting twice a week to make coffee bean baskets, tablemats and large baskets.

It is wonderful working with the deaf. We instinctively feel connected with one another as we work towards a common goal: to improve our lives! We work together, eat together and are able to utilise all our potentials. Joining hands to secure Better Livelihoods for Women!

Two young deaf women work with three experienced craftswomen who are passing on their skills, in addition to a cook who helps to prepare meals. The interaction between deaf and hearing women has a positive impact, creating an enabling working environment: There are no communication barriers as our work is visual. We easily communicate using a mixture of signs and gestures and enjoy our company! It is vital to recognise deaf women’s potentials and their contribution to society. Securing employment for them is important for economic independence, boosts their self-esteem and reduces social isolation, which they experience within their homes.

DLU provides raw materials, food supplies and pays a small fee to each woman at the end of each month. The programme supervisor accommodates the deaf women at her home free of charge and their parents cover transport costs. It is a team effort where all stakeholders contribute.

The team leader comments on project achievements:
“The deaf women are talented, extremely hard working and very keen to improve their artisanship. We make an intricate and special type of coffee bean baskets that requires enormous amounts of time, patience and concentration. You sit in the same position for hours to perfect the design to produce a valuable and attractive product – therefore, we do not rash! At the end of each second day, each one returns home with unfinished work to complete. Unfortunately the deaf women cannot continue work on their crafts at home due to home chores, including digging. When they return the following Thursday, they have forgotten their patterns and at time make mistakes on the craft – which can be cumbersome.”

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