Deaf children to access special education in Kismayu in new move

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Monday March 18, 2019

Two schools in the southern Somali town of Kismayu have opened educational facilities for deaf children, for the first time since the fall of the central government in 1991.

Jubba and Fanole Primary and Secondary Schools have each allocated two newly built classrooms for deaf students.

The principal of Jubba School, Abdi Ismail, said they have 83 places available and enrolment began in February.

“The classrooms built by Mercy Corps were originally meant to resolve the problems of over-crowding but we as principals decided to offer a chance to these (deaf) children,” he said.

Kismayu has more than 20 primary and secondary schools but none makes provision for deaf children.

Four teachers have been specially trained to teach the deaf.

“The classes and teachers for these children are available. We are only waiting for the children to be brought for enrolment upon which they will be given free special education,” the principal said.

A sign language training course for 100 teachers drawn from different schools was completed on 7 March.

Abdikadir Mohamed Hikam, the organiser of the training programme, said it would have a dramatic effect on the lives of deaf children.

“We have been aware of the situation facing deaf children – they are not schooled and we have been thinking about them for a long time. When the training was held, many people have come to realise the challenges these children undergo, but now we are hopeful things can change,” Abdikadir explained.

BilowJirow, a maths teacher, was among those who completed the sign language training course. He told Radio Ergo that he is committed to changing the lives of deaf children.

“Now I am qualified to teach deaf children. We have also been given a sign language dictionary to assist us. I hope this will be a golden opportunity for these children,” Bilow said.

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