First Lady's Foundation Bails Out Deaf Learners at Embangweni Secondary School
First Lady's Shaping Our Future Foundation has bailed out deaf learners in special needs institutions with transparent face shields and food stuffs to ease challenges the institutions are facing in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic.
This follows an outcry from Miss Deaf Africa Chimwemwe Kamkwamba who expressed concerns that deaf learners rely on lip reading to grasp lessons and any other communication rather than prescribed face masks which cover the mouth.
"We face a lot of challenges when pursuing our education and now with the coming of the Covid19 pandemic we are being told to wear face masks but for deaf learners face masks retard the flow of information, you know deaf students rely on reading lips to understand what someone is saying so with face masks it becomes a challenge,” said Kamkwamba.
Kamkwamba says she took an initiative to relay such concerns to the first lady Monica Chakwera to look into the plight of deaf learners hence the support of face shields.
She however raised an appeal for construction of more secondary schools that would carter for learners who are deaf saying currently the country has only one secondary school which offers special needs education to children with hearing problems.
“We have only Embangweni secondary school for the deaf which accommodates learners with hearing difficulties in the whole country in a way this deprives other children a chance to pursue their education,” said Kamkwamba.
Head Teacher for Embangweni Secondary School for the blind Benson Mhone while commending shaping our future foundation for the intervention appealed for more support saying the facility is facing a lot of challenges including shortage of beddings and food stuffs.
"We face a lot of challenges as an institution for example currently we do not have food stuffs to last as this term, even beds and mattresses are a problem you know with covid19 we do not allow two learners to be sleeping on the same bed so we wish others would come in to assist us", Mhone.
The problem of well qualified special needs education teachers is another challenged dodging the institution which is under Livingstonia Synod Education department.
Program Manager for Shaping our Future Foundation Loma Mtema said they were moved by Miss Deaf Africa on the plight of deaf learners wearing face masks when learning when they rely on lip reading in communication.
"We were greatly moved by concerns which were raised by miss deaf Africa on the challenges deaf learners are facing in their learning in the wake of covid19 hence we decided to support the institution with transparent face shields as we know deaf people communicate well through lip reading and gestures,” said Mtema.
She said the donations will be made in all schools with deaf learners in the country.
Mtema said Shaping Our Future Foundation is bent at helping girls in remote areas as well street children in reducing challenges they face to attain an education.