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International Day of Education: Using specialist braille technology to support children with deafblindness in Uganda

24 January 2021

Young girl sitting at a school desk, smiling. There's a notebook, pens and a board with letters of the alphabet on the table.

Sense International is celebrating the International Day of Education (January 24) with the launch of a new Inclusive Education programme to transform education for children with deafblindness/ multi-sensory impairments (MSI) in Uganda.

The theme of this year’s awareness day is ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID19 Generation’ in recognition of the major impact the pandemic continues to have on children’s education around the world.

In Uganda, Sense International will work in partnership with the Band Aid Trust for the two-year programme which builds on an education project Sense International is running in partnership with the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust. It will improve inclusive education for children with deafblindness/ MSI. The project will equip children with specialist technology, including braille readers, to support children to learn at school.

The programme will run in the Acholi, Lango and Teso regions, which have the highest poverty and disability rates, and lowest literacy rates, in Uganda. But Sense International is working to change this and, with the right support and technology, children with deafblindness/ MSI will flourish at school and lead fulfilling lives as part of their communities.

How will Sense International's inclusive education programme support children?

The programme will:

  • Support 100 children with deafblindness/ MSI at 17 schools.
  • Train 30 teachers and 200 parents/ carers to use specialist technology.
  • Work with the National Curriculum Development Centre to adapt school textbooks into braille for 100 children with deafblindness/ MSI.
  • Work with local governments in Uganda to develop plans to support all children with deafblindness/ MSI across the three regions.
  • Children with complex disabilities, such as deafblindness, in Uganda are 17 times less likely to be in school than children without disabilities and half as likely to be in school compared to children with other disabilities.

Improving education for children with deafblindness in Uganda is more important than ever due to the COVID19 pandemic. Schools closed due to the lockdown restrictions and have only partially reopened. Sense International Uganda continues to adapt to ensure children with deafblindness/ MSI can learn and develop, both at home through this pandemic and at school.

Emma Judge, Interim Director of Sense International, said: “I’m delighted that Sense International’s new Inclusive Education programme has launched in Uganda. Without support, children with deafblindness are often unable to access quality education in Uganda. This programme will provide vital educational support for children with deafblindness and their families, ensuring they receive the best start in life and hope for the future.”

Supporting children like Lina

A young girl sitting at a wooden school desk, smiling.

Sense International has delivered similar Inclusive Education programmes in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. One of the children who has been supported by this work is Lina, from Tanzania, who was born with both sight and hearing impairments.

When Lina was two years old, her life changed when her parents were introduced to a teacher trained by Sense International, who provided her with specialised support and adapted learning materials. Now aged five, Lina can express herself through signing and speak a few words such as ‘ma’.

Lina’s father says: “The teachers have done wonders to Lina’s life. Now my daughter can play with other children despite her hearing and vision challenges. Her life now has a bright future.”

Find out more information about Sense International Uganda

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019