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Supporting deafblind children in Kenya

24 October 2013
Posted by Edwin Osundwa

Edwin Osundwa

Over the last three years, Sense International (Kenya) has supported around 300 deafblind children with home-based services through a project funded by the EU. In order to do this we have trained 38 community workers and 92 other professionals so that deafblind children who aren't in school can receive physiotherapy, help with communication and life skills training.

As we progressed with this work, we began to realise that there are still a great number of deafblind children in need of services but who are often hidden away by their families, receiving little or no support. This might be because their families have no idea there is support available and all too often children aren't being identified as deafblind.

In August, I wrote an article for the Guardian newspaper in the UK on developing a new curriculum for deafblind children who attend school in Kenya and we are now doing the same for those who are not in school. Our community-based education programme will help us reach more deafblind children than before and provide all round support to help them develop the skills they need to thrive and receive an education.

Girls and teachers singing and clappingUnder the new programme, deafblind learners will be identified and registered in their immediate mainstream primary school. A teacher from their school will then be trained to work with the deafblind child and their family to support them in developing communication, daily living and social skills. The teachers from the mainstream schools will be monitored by Education Assessment and Resource Coordinators who will be able to support them in working with the deafblind child. For those that don't make it into mainstream primary school this support will be provided via community workers.

As part of our preparation for this project, we are working with experts from Sense UK, the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development and teachers, who will all support us in develop a community based education curriculum for those who aren't in school. The process will begin in early November at the Institute, and we will draft the new curriculum over a two week period. Once it is ready for use, we hope that it will guide the teaching and learning of the thousands of deafblind children who are out of school and can benefit from home based education.

Edwin Osundwa is our Country Representative for Sense International (Kenya)

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Good Work.

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First published: Friday 7 June 2013
Last updated: Thursday 18 September 2014