My First Week as a DOW Intern
Hello, my name is Ciara Middleton and I am from Malvern, Pennsylvania. I have just completed my second year at Susquehanna University as a student-athlete! I play on the field hockey team and I major in Global Management and minor in Marketing. I am very excited to expand my knowledge in these fields as I take on the Public Relations, Marketing and Fundraising intern position for Deaf Open World. At the conclusion of the first week beginning this role, I have been provided with many tools to expand my general knowledge of the disabled population of Eswatini and develop my background knowledge in the value of this NGO. So far, this includes (but is not limited to) the living conditions, history, current legislation/ regulatory processes and statistical relationships within the population of Eswatini People with Disabilities (PWD). Taking the first steps in grasping just how inadequately prepared Eswatini is for the advance of its disabled population has been the most prominent aspect of my first week. There are no Braille facilities in schools and little-to-no integrated policy for children with disabilities which results in discrimination and extreme limitations. Parliament has yet to enact a disability bill that ensures the protection of equality for deaf youth and, unfortunately, there is an extreme lack of funding for helping adjust schools for children with disabling conditions. It is the general belief that PWD have been bewitched and are bad luck to be around which causes many to stay in their homesteads and further diminish their ability to improve. This stigma alters the abilities of deaf youth even further as educators are often not only untrained, but judged for teaching them. As I proceed into my next few months working with Deaf Open World, I am excited to gear my efforts towards further understanding and even working to change the fate of the children in Southern Africa that truly need it.