July 16, 2010
Deaf children are being heard in Africa thanks to SMS
Cellphones in the classroom help break down barriers between the hearing and hearing impaired. The Vancouver Sun reports.
Julie Solberg began venturing up the peaks of Uganda's mountains focused on retrieving deaf orphans with the purpose of providing them with an education. The children had been abandoned and left homeless.
Solberg founded the Child Africa International School in Kabale, Uganda, in 2007 with the aim of integrating deaf children into a regular primary school. Cambridge to Africa, a United Kingdom group that works to advance education in Africa, is working with the school on a cellphone integration project that will make it easier for deaf children to learn alongside, and be taught by, the non-deaf. Ten per cent of the children enrolled at the school are hearing impaired.
SMS text messaging on cellphones has broken the sound barrier that blocked deaf children from communicating with their hearing peers. Deaf children are no longer ostracized from sign-language-illiterate pupils and teachers, and this has given them more confidence.
"Just the fact that they have been given a phone and are taught how to use it has really improved their self-esteem," said Sacha DeVelle, founder of Cambridge to Africa.
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