July 2011 | XVI World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf.
Global Deaf Renaissance
Durban - South Africa
The opening of the XVI World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf on the Nelson Mandela International Day was symbolic of our great icon: Nelson Mandela and his struggle to bring about social justice and freedom, evident in the incredible sacrifices he made to transform our world. The Congress gave us opportunities to: “Take Action; Inspire Change and Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”
Deaf communities from different parts of the globe demonstrated the capabilities of Deaf people, the uniqueness of their linguistic, cultural and political diversity, informing the world that the Deaf are a vibrant and essential part of human diversity and development. Deliberations during the Congress focused on multiple disciplines such as; Deaf Education, Sign Language, Developing Countries and Human Rights.
Sponsored by Christian Blind Mission (CBM), our team included CBM staff, advisers and partners from different parts of the world. We visited two schools for deaf children: Fulton School for the Deaf, founded in 1959 and St. Martins de Porres School for the Deaf - Port Shepstone in KwaZulu Natal. Both schools use a bilingual - bicultural approach to Deaf Education, which has enabled deaf learners excel academically. The closing ceremony was a dynamic even that lifted our Spirits with Flames of Africa, propelling us into a future of hope and commitment to work towards a better world for the Deaf.
August 2011 | National Symposium on Deafness
Kampala - Uganda
Beliefs about deafness in African societies range from acceptance and protection to rejection. Cultural practices may result in the deaf child being hidden from public view because of familial shame. Such beliefs can lead to abuse, neglect and abandonment and deaf children’s potential to contribute to the development of African nations is dismissed. Kiyaga & Moores (2003)
Hosted by Ka’Tutandike Uganda in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Leonard Cheshire Disability, this was the first ever forum in Uganda to focus on issues of education of the deaf. The conference aim was to “Identify best methodologies towards the education of deaf and hard of hearing children in Uganda,” highlighting challenges faced by deaf learners, the efficacy of the inclusive education policy, curriculum and methods used to teach deaf children. Despite efforts made to provide access to education, there was evidence of poor academic performance among deaf and hard of hearing children due ineffective teaching methods. Key recommendations included: need for data collection, improvement of teaching methods and provision of deaf-friendly educational resources.
DLU Paper Presentations:
- Sharing Experiences: Educational and Social Perspectives from a Deaf Youth. By Odeke Allan.
- The need to provide effective Special Needs Education with a focus on Sign Language competence and Deaf Culture. By Okwele Richard.
- The Current status of Deaf Education in Uganda: Methodologies and practices used in the education of deaf children. By Nassozi B. Kiyaga.
September 2011 | International Deaf Awareness Week
Ibanda - Western Uganda
Deaf Link Uganda made its debut at this event represented by a strong team of its volunteer staff. There was diverse representation from CBOs and NGO working with deaf and hard of hearing people in Uganda, schools for the Deaf, Special Needs Education institutions, parents’ groups and well wishers. During the week were numerous forums to discuss avenues for improvement to make environments (educational, social and economic) accessible to the deaf. The week culminated in a grand finale procession of hundreds of people marching in unison through Ibanda town. It was an opportunity to showcase our achievements as a people marching for a common cause to highlight our capabilities, raise awareness about the Deaf people and Sign Language. Local communities lined the streets along the route of our energised procession waving with joy and in support of initiatives to promote Deaf Pride!
January 2012 | 4th East African Conference on Communication Disabilities
Kampala - Uganda
In Uganda, disability is a minor statistic. It is ONLY diseases that kill you that are considered. Therefore our challenge lies in working to raise the profile of Communication Disabilities. Dr. Edward Turitwenka
In 2008 Makerere University approved a new degree course in Speech & Language Therapy with the first batch of students graduating in 2010. Uganda hosted this conference for the first time, bringing together professionals from East Africa and different parts of the world. The ENT Department (Mulago Hospital), College of Health Sciences (Makerere University) and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) collaborated in hosting the conference so as to strengthen partnerships among health professionals and promote Speech & Language Therapy services for persons with Communication Disabilities in East Africa. The conference featured three major strands: Multi-disciplinary approaches in working to meet the needs of people with communication difficulties; research on communication disorders in sub Saharan Africa and developing Speech & Language Therapy services in East Africa.
DLU Paper Presentation:
- Auditory Habilitation: A significant intervention tool to promote spoken language in young hard of hearing children. By: Nassozi B. Kiyaga
- Ms Kiyaga is a part-time lecturer at Makerere University college of health sciences: Speech and Language Therapy Department.
- Download full report
April 19 & 20 2012 | African Lessons on Language and Citizenship
Gallaudet University - Washington, D.C
This mini conference aims to create a forum for learning how our African counterparts mobilised politically, built coalitions with other rights-and issues-oriented partners, and helped one another do better work. And where no partners existed, how they built programming from the ground up.
Khadijat Rashid & Audrey Cooper
Nassozi Kiyaga an alumnus of Gallaudet University was invited to present at a conference hosted by Gallaudet University on: African Lessons on Language and Citizenship: Local Action and Transnational Partnerships." Opening remarks made by Honourable Johnny Moloto (deputy chief of missions, South African Embassy) set the stage for discussions on issues of research, social activism and policy, sign languages and socio-political governance as they affect deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people across the African continent. The conference highlighted experiences of struggles and successes of African people and their local communities, showcasing accomplishments and advances made at grassroots levels. Nassozi's involvement as a presenter and panellist engaged participants on matters of significance on Language and Citizenship, through community-based initiatives by Deaf Link Uganda. The invaluable contributions from Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing professionals made this conference a landmark achievement for it provided a platform for lessons on how Africans are able to mobilise local action and find solutions to challenges that affect their lives.
- Deaf Social Inclusion in Uganda.
- Connections between Language & Identity; in relation to deaf people in Uganda.
January 2013 | Deaf Link Uganda - Western Skills and Sign Language Training for the Deaf
Fort Portal - Kabarole District (Western Uganda)
Towards the end of 2012, DLU staff made several trips to Western Uganda to investigate the situation of young deaf people in Kabarole district. It was found that the majority, like everywhere else in the country, have no life opportunities, no access to education or training to equip them with skills for future employment. In addition, they have no language and suffer isolation and various forms of abuse. On meetings with local organisations in the region, Deaf Link Uganda resolved to form partnerships to support training opportunities for young deaf people, so as to secure for them a meaningful and productive future that would open up economic opportunities.
January 19th was the official launch of the DLU-Western Initiative in partnership with Koogere Foundation Uganda and Uganda Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities (UPACLED). In addition, DLU provides Sign Language training to deaf trainees, thier parents, instructors and members of the local community.