Welcome back to Organizational Spotlight; the best place to learn about the incredible missions of non-profit organizations worldwide! As an organization, DOW values the outstanding efforts of NGOs that strive to support deaf people in reaching their full potential, especially in the education sector. For this reason, we are excited to highlight the work of other organizations that have missions and visions similar to DOW’s and show our support for what they are engaged in to address educational inequalities. Our focus this week, Aurora Deaf Aid Africa (ADAA), is an NGO that works to make a significant and sustainable impact on the unmet needs of the African deaf community in the areas of education, communication and health and life opportunities. ADAA was founded by Chris Kubwimana and aims to change the lives of deaf African children and adults alike by enabling them to attain and achieve their goals and aspirations. They place the majority of their focus on the African countries of Burundi and Rwanda, but also have some side projects in other countries throughout the continent.
Specific to children in Burundi and Rwanda, ADAA focuses on their access to quality education because of their belief that “education has the power to transform deaf children’s lives, now and for generations to come,” as disclosed on their website. For young adult men and women in the same two countries, ADAA strives to facilitate employment by having deaf people work in places like hair salons and tailoring shops to develop skills that will create earning opportunities in the future. ADAA, in some cases, even provides small grants to this demographic for business start-ups. In addition, ADAA is motivated to support deaf children and young people in Burundi and Rwanda who encounter communication barriers by working to give them access to qualified sign language interpreters. These interpreters can make a huge difference in enabling deaf individuals to express their needs and wishes in a way that develop their confidence and self-reliance, which is crucial in the pursuit of eventual sustainability for deaf communities. This is why DOW is working so hard to advocate for the knowledge and use of Sign Language by educators in Eswatini when teaching deaf children in school. When teachers in Eswatini lack the ability to efficiently communicate with their deaf students, similar to the way that children in Burundi and Rwanda suffer to communicate with those around them, they waste valuable time in the classroom that should be spent learning the curriculum. Why spend two weeks teaching your students about a topic that should only take four days to cover? This pattern of taking too much time to cover material results in the incompletion of the school’s curriculum year after year, causing students to fall farther and farther behind. By making sure that teachers are proficient in Sign Language before putting them in a classroom to teach deaf students, this problem can be avoided all together. Similarly, providing deaf youth in Burundi and Rwanda with interpreters would cause communication between the deaf and non-deaf to become more productive.
Similar to DOW, one of ADAA’s priorities is enabling deaf children in Africa to become educated individuals in the hope of improving their quality of life. Knowledge is power, in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, which is why this shared mission of DOW and ADAA is so important. By educating children, you allow them to develop their own thoughts and ideas, some of which have the ability to change the world as we know it. The minds and bodies of each and every child, deaf or not, is unique, powerful, and capable of more than we could ever imagine. For this reason, it is vital that organizations like DOW and ADAA work to give these children the skills and understanding to think and work for themselves. Especially in Africa, communities often lack the infrastructure to facilitate sufficient education and support for deaf individuals. Without the drive and knowledge of how to fix these problems, these people are stuck in a never-ending cycle of injustice and failure. The absence of a defined framework makes it necessary for organizations like DOW and ADAA to step in and provide assistance in order to get these groups of people on their feet and moving in a direction of self-sufficiency. Thankfully, due to the recognition of this issue, ADAA is making a massive effort day in and day out to give the deaf children of Africa the education that they are entitled to, just like Deaf Education and Arts for African Families (DEAAF) as discussed in last week’s installment in Organizational Spotlight.
For additional information about ADAA, please refer to their website.
For additional information about DEAAF, please refer to last week’s installment of Organizational Spotlight.