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Organizational Spotlight: Deaf Education and Arts for African Families

There is an abundance of non-profit organizations worldwide that fulfill charitable missions by facilitating amazing feats. I am excited to announce that this is the first installment in a new series called “Organizational Spotlight” where some of these different organizations will be highlighted for their fantastic work! Just like Deaf Open World, Deaf Education and Arts for African Families (DEAAF) is one of these non-profit organizations. DEAAF, founded and headed by Lisa Zahra, is committed to providing much needed schooling to Deaf children within the African continent. The organization is facilitating this through the DeSanto Centre for the Deaf in Livingstone, Zambia where Sign language, English, math, reading, writing, HIV/AIDS, social skills, and hygiene is taught to Deaf children enrolled in grades one through seven. As disclosed on DEAAF's website, the Centre is situated in a home that has been transformed into a school setup with an eating area, two classrooms, and a playground. The ministry of education has approved this project along with the office of disabilities. As most of the children at the Centre are very young, DEAAF strives to make each educational lesson fun and exciting. This is achieved by having the children play games and sports while learning in order to get them to interact with their teachers and learn new skills. These children are also encouraged to express their creative sides through art and drawing which helps them develop their fine motor skills. In addition to the younger children, there are also some older Deaf children who attend classes at the Centre. Looking forward, DEAAF is in the process of getting donations of laptops which will have the National Zambian Curricuum inside which will be used to educate the children who attend the Centre.

DEAAF is similar to DOW in the sense that it strives to assist the development of the Deaf youth population in Livingstone through improving their educational opportunities, just as DOW does in Eswatini. Both organizations also work towards equal access to education for Deaf youth in their respective countries and do this through the generous donations of those who share their values and believe in their missions. Regarding the work of DOW, our approach is to strengthen the education system for Deaf youth through linking them to opportunities that can expand their exposure to information and career opportunities as there are two existing schools for the Deaf in Eswatini. Moreover, it involves engaging parents and other community stakeholders in advocacy initiatives to build on the existing foundation. DEAAF also does not have any sponsorships compared to DOW’s exciting partnership with the Build It Together Foundation. This forces them to rely even more heavily on donations from the public. However, differences aside, both DEAAF and DOW are working hard each and every day to give the Deaf youth populations of Livingstone, Zambia and Eswatini the educations that they deserve.

For additional information about DEAAF, please refer to their website.


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