Learning at all ages

25 January 2024

Education is a powerful tool that can offer a pathway to a brighter future and break cycles of poverty. However, the stark reality is that approximately 244 million children and adolescents worldwide are out of school, and among them, those with deafblindness face even greater challenges. 

Children with deafblindness are up to 17 times less likely to be in school than their non-disabled counterparts. Shockingly, they are also twice as likely to be excluded from educational opportunities compared to children with other types of disabilities. This exclusion hampers their ability to break free from the cycle of poverty, leaving millions of children, youth, and adults behind. 

Genesis’s Journey:

Genesis is a resilient 10-year-old girl living in Piura, Peru. Like many children with disabilities in her country, Genesis did not receive a diagnosis until she was three years old. Her mother, Nely, noticed that Genesis wasn’t responding to calls and sought answers from healthcare providers, but their response was inconclusive. It wasn’t until Genesis was three that a clinic in Piura confirmed she had a hearing disability. Nely also suspects Genesis of having trouble with her vision but has been unable to access a formal diagnosis.

Genesis attended mainstream schools with varying degrees of success. In 2nd grade, her teacher knew sign language, greatly aiding her learning. However, in her current 4th-grade class, the absence of sign language knowledge has made learning challenging. Despite these obstacles, Nely is committed to providing Genesis with an education.

It’s Never Too Late to Learn

In July, Sense International Peru visited the city of Chulucanas, where we met Genesis and Nely. The duo enthusiastically participated in workshops covering socio-emotional, educational, and legal aspects. Since September 2023, Genesis and her mother have been part of the educational and social support program, supported by the Lavelle Fund for the Blind.

Through the program, Genesis and Nely have developed effective communication strategies. Nely has improved her gesticulation to aid her daughter’s lip-reading. In Nely’s own words, “It was the first time attending a workshop, and for my child, I would do anything… I am learning for her.”

Education is a Human Right:

At Sense International, we believe that education is a fundamental human right. Our ongoing efforts are geared towards making this a reality for children with deafblindness. Through workshops, support programs, and dedicated professionals, we strive to break down barriers and empower children like Genesis to reach their full potential.

As we commemorate the International Day of Education, let’s advocate for inclusive and equitable education for all. By sharing Genesis’s journey, we emphasize the transformative power of education and the imperative to leave no one behind. Together, we can build a world where every child, regardless of ability, has the opportunity to live, learn, and thrive.