Parental Awareness Training for parents of Deaf children in Uganda:
My Experience as a Trainer of Trainees
My Name is Eroku Simon (28) I am Deaf Ugandan, a social innovator and Inclusive media professional. I have been working with Uganda National Association of the Deaf as the information officer and Focal person for Deaf Youth empowerment project since 2013.
Recently when UNAD and The Royal Dutch Kentalis partnered to develop a manual that would help us train parents of Deaf children in Uganda on how they can take good care of their Deaf children, I gained a lot of interest and participated fully in the activities where we developed the training Manuals and also where able to train Community facilitators in the process.
When we developed those materials, it was a good thought trying to use them out with some parent groups. I was one of the pioneers ToT who facilitated the first ever parental training workshop in Uganda using the manuals and materials developed. I worked with a team of 4 others who included a ToT, one community facilitator (CF) and 2 Sign Language interpreters.
The 3 Day’s Parental awareness training Workshop took place in a small village in Mukono District some 55KMs from Kampala. An average of 20 Parents attended the training and it was such a great experience, we were able to really see how much of an impact these training manuals can be if we rolled them out all over the country.
Many parents of Deaf children are living in self-denial, under very traumatizing circumstances due to stigma and myths being spread around in the community about them having Deaf children. 3 of the parents who were in the training had actually separated from their spouses because of having given birth to the Deaf child! This directly affects the well-being of such Deaf children because the implications such as being denied the chance to go to school, have a decent home and healthy diet as well as keeping them locked up in the house, not being able to go out and meet their friends and many others means they have to be left behind.
I am a firm believer that Deaf children and young people all have equal rights like their hearing counterparts and therefore deserve the right to go to school, communicate in sign language as well as access to social services just like the rest of the community members because I have that strong belief that We are not able to realize Agenda2030 if Deaf people especially the children and youth are left out. so at least here is an opportunity for us to make this happen so we will need to find a way to put these training manuals into good use and also need some support to be able to reach out to the parents and train them. It’s a great contribution to sustainable Development and a cross-cutting intervention that will help up realize some of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals including SDG10 which is about reducing inequalities as well as eliminating Poverty among Deaf households(Goal 1) and realizing Quality Education among Deaf children (Goal 4).
Many thanks to the Kentalis team that worked with us through this long process. I will be more than excited that we have to keep working together in the coming years.