Social Rehabilitation of Deafblind Children through communication in Zambia

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

Lack of meaningful communication between persons with deafblindness and their family and community members due to lack of specialized support services in Zambia. This results in social exclusion of persons with deafblindness.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

  1. Raising public awareness about the existence of deafblindness as a unique multiple disability requiring special intervention.
  2. Training communication partners and caregivers of Deafblind persons and children.
  3. Raising awareness among service providers ie teachers, social workers and community development workers about the need to provide specialized support services to deafblind persons.

Describe the project's impact

Deafblind Association of Zambia has managed to solicit international support from charities in Finland and Norway to pilot inclusive education for deafblind children in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. The Zambian government has also recognized deafblindness as a unique disability which require special intervention. I have also managed to raise awareness of the existence of deafblind children in schools among teachers and education officers.

How will you spend the R20,000 award if you win?

The R20,000 will supplement the current initiative to produce training materials to enhance communication between mothers/caregivers and their deafblind children, i.e. production and distribution of videos which depict best models of communication between deafblind persons and competent partners.
  • By training mothers/caregivers to communicate meaningfully with their deafblind children, children with deafblindness will receive the care and attention they need in order to develop socially, mentally and emotionally like other non deafblind children.
  • Enhanced communication between parents/caregivers and their deafblind children will reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect.
  • Deafblind children whose parents know how to communicate with them will have an opportunity to learn activities for daily living eg. Physical mobility, orientation, self feeding, bathing, thereby reduce the burden of care on their mother/caregivers. This will ultimately reduce the risk of abuse and neglect.
  • Meaningful Communication between parents and their children will promote emotional attachment and pleasure which is cardinal for child development.
  • The ability to communicate for deafblind children will promote their ability to enjoy their right to play and access the social and physical environment around them.
  • Deafblind children whose parents/caregivers know how to communicate with them will stand a chance of being enrolled in school.