Signal is a UK-registered charity which works internationally to support people who are Deaf or hearing-impaired to lead active lives as part of their communities, challenging the stigma and isolation which are commonly experienced by those who are deaf.
True Colours has worked with Signal and its partner SignHealth Uganda since 2016 on a project designed to support hearing impaired children and their families in Northern Uganda.
The project began work in schools and community settings, raising awareness of the needs of hearing-impaired children, including ways to identify a child struggling with hearing loss or deafness. Teacher training across schools in the region resulted in more children being identified, supported to start school and receiving the help they need during their education. To date, over 540 teachers have been trained in inclusive education, meaning they are better equipped to support a child with a hearing impairment in their classroom.
Ugandan Sign Language training has been provided to over 300 service providers including doctors, nurses and judges. These individuals can now act as interpreters for deaf people accessing their services. Families have been encouraged to form parent support groups which act as peer support and help families to develop new income generating activities.
Since the start of the project, SignHealth has successfully embedded a change in 24 schools across Northern Uganda. Sensitisation in the local community has reduced stigma around hearing impairment and training of those in authority who are likely to come into contact with hearing impaired children (e.g. police officers, doctors, government officials etc.) means that the needs and rights of hearing-impaired children are better understood and met.
Over the next few years, SignHealth and Signal will turn their primary focus to those young people who have progressed through the school system or who are preparing to leave school, providing vocational skills and apprenticeships. The project will also continue to support the parents of hearing-impaired children, giving them guidance and practical help as well as training in income generation.
SignHealth Uganda’s work has resulted in real change for hearing impaired children and young people. This grant is intended to ensure that this change is embedded and sustained in the long-term.