First Rural Outreach Day At The ALDS

For those rural Deaf children not lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the school we organised a ‘Rural Outreach Program’. We invited the children, their parents and social affairs employees to visit the Deaf school and participate in a day of fun and learning. It proved to be a huge success and was repeated five times during the school year. Again, it was a privilege to be able to observe so many children arrive at the school; nervous and a little overawed by the welcome they received from our students. However, they quickly began to see themselves reflected in our students, could see that there was a means of communication that was accessible to them and were soon fully involved in playing some sports, trying to learn a Sign or two.

Rural outreach program: Children and Parents gather for a lesson in sign language.

However, another vital part of the program was the opportunity to meet with the parents of the children and facilitate them in discussing their concerns about their Deaf child, the problems they encounter in the local community, their exclusion from education etc. All of them agreed that having the opportunity to come to the school had really opened their minds to the potential their child possesses. They were intrigued to see the students who are already attending the school display just how capable they are when given the proper support in learning. A boarding facility at the ALDS would allow so many of these children the opportunity to prove their own abilities.

Fiona Broderick and her husband Matthew attended our final rural outreach day in July. Fiona works at the Irish embassy in Addis. The embassy have been very supportive of the school.