Our Education Program reaches students with hearing impairments in rural Kenya
Linet who is profoundly deaf, is one of over 30 children that attends Chemolingot School for the Hearing Impaired. It is a very unique school, located in a remote area of Baringo County, Kenya that educates children from all across the region. Linet’s learning development has improved greatly as result of the dedicated support she receives. The 4 teachers at the school are specialists in sign language, and are also trained in inclusive education. Linet has attended the school for the past 3 years and is now in Grade 3. She loves school and is proud to be this term’s Most Improved Student.
So They Can has already supported a number of infrastructure improvements since starting a partnership with the school this year. Installation of electricity, a 10,000L water tank, and farming support to establish a school farm have been key drivers for improved learning.
‘With electricity and a projector, students now have a new way to learn. Access to clean water, from the new water tank, keeps students safe – they do not need to walk in search of water anymore. And the start of a school feeding program has not only benefited the children’s health, it has also improved student enrolment’Sarah, Head Teacher
Children are known as children with special abilities, rather than disabilities, in the school community.
Access to quality education can be a significant challenge for children with hearing impairments. Inclusive education programs that provide specialised support, such as sign language interpreters and teachers trained in teaching children with hearing impairments, are essential. But in remote communities, even ensuring that these children are sent to school is a critical first step.
‘Since So They Can started supporting sensitisation meetings for parents, we have seen positive change immediately. Children are now motivated to come to school to learn, and feel encouraged by their parents’Sarah, Head Teacher
So They Can recruited a Champion Mother and Father to support the school. They work directly with families to make sure that children are attending school. Their work is particularly important in these communities where significant stigma against children, and adults, with disabilities persists. It is commonly considered a symptom of witchcraft, and many of the children experienced severe child rights violations prior to joining the school. In some cases children were abandoned, with attempts to kill them, by family members.
The Champions provide an important link between community members, the school and So They Can’s field office in Baringo. For children that would otherwise largely be disregarded by their communities, schools and the mainstream education system in Kenya, collectively we are ensuring they are not left behind.