Leadership & Career Development Training
As part of our mission, we seek to provide the resources and services necessary for the holistic development of deaf youth in Eswatini.
While advocating for access to quality education is our main priority, our values ensure that “quality” also dictate that deaf youth have access to the critical life skills needed for them to serve as role models, leaders and successful professionals in their communities. Thus, DOW seeks to also provide ongoing leadership and career development trainings to deaf youth in grades 6 through 12. These trainings will encompass a broad range of subject areas including leadership, professionalism (such as interview skills), literacy, and health and wellbeing. As a result of these trainings, deaf youth will have the confidence and knowledge necessary to serve as focused citizens in their communities.
DOW will design its own curriculum and critical pedagogy informed by the youth, educators and professionals in order to ensure that they espouse the skills and attitudes necessary to succeed. Trainings will be conducted from January to December, following the academic year, and utilizing the students’ academic breaks. Ideally, this intervention will function as a peer educator and mentorship program where older youth will assist in facilitating the curriculum and activities to younger students. The program will also strengthen networks of support for deaf youth, as youth from the primary and high school have an opportunity to come together and address key issues that they face collectively in accessing education, and engaging in meaningful work in Eswatini.
One of the greatest challenges that deaf youth face is effective communication through English language composition. Moreover, as deaf youth first encounter both SSL and English upon enrollment at the schools for the deaf, they have severe linguistic development delays that are only challenged by the lack of SSL and English stimulation that occurs at a school where most teachers are not fluent or competent in sign language, and often hold beliefs that deaf learners are not capable of learning English. Thus, DOW will also hold an annual Literacy Bootcamp where deaf youth will go through an intensive English-language and Swazi Sign Language course to strengthen their linguistic skills.