Offering educational scholarships helps fulfill the second goal in our organizational model.
The High School for the Deaf was opened in 2010, and currently supports over 50 deaf students. Several barriers have however greatly impacted students’ abilities to graduate with a high school diploma, and thus, the qualifications required to enroll in a college or university in Eswatini. Moreover, only a small group of students are enrolled on the “academic track” at the high school, while the majority of students are engaged in vocational training in the areas of sewing and metal work. However, the vocational training does not meet the standards necessary to be granted certification in these professional fields.
As part of our initiative, DOW seeks to support a cohort of nominated candidates in achieving their academic goals through awarding scholarships to competitive schools for the deaf outside of Eswatini. While this does not address the issues within the educational system in Eswatini directly, it offers select students an opportunity to access quality education and advance through the education system. Students who receive scholarships are committed to supporting the growth and development of the deaf community in Eswatini. Thus, upon completing their high school education, students will enter fields such as teaching, thus serving as role models within the deaf community and utilizing their skills and knowledge to help deaf youth flourish. As DOW grows, we hope to continue to expand our educational scholarship opportunities to include more students, and more opportunities, including supporting vocational skills training and other global exchange initiatives such as the World Federation for the Deaf’s youth camp that is held every four years.
Ultimately, we hope to provide additional scholarships for deaf youth within Eswatini, either to ensure they can continue their education at the high school, as often families struggle to pay school fees, or enrolling in other vocational or higher education programs.
Pictured: These students are the recipients of 7 educational scholarships DOW has provided for nominated deaf youth to attend De La Bat Skool in South Africa, where they are currently enrolled in grades 7, 9 and 10.