A Brief History of Deaf Education in Eswatini
6 students enroll at the newly opened Siteki School for the Deaf (grades 1-7)
The history of Deaf Education in Eswatini is just over 40 years old. Prior to 1974 there were no facilities for primary education for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing community. This changed when a Catholic missionary by the name of Father Siro Edoni and the Social Welfare Department in the Offiee of Home Affairs took steps to address the need to create a program that would cater to deaf and hard of hearing children in Eswatini.
The first centre for Deaf Education opened in 1974 at the Enjabuleni School in Manzini. At the time, the Government commissioned Anne Leng, a social worker from the UK to make plans for the education of deaf pupils. Leng worked with an extension worker from the Social Welfare Deparment, John Mamba, to research the number of possible deaf students in Eswatini. While the staff waited for the construction in Siteki to be complete, the Rotary Club of Manzini, chaired by John Oliver financed a small centre at Enjabulweni Orphanage in Manzini where the first group of deaf learners could be taught. Remarkably, there were only four deaf children enrolled in the school at Enjabulweni.