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Enhance the accessibility of ECD centers/programs for Deaf children and their parents

Increase the capacity of ECD centers to cater for Deaf children's needs to access the Sign Language in their early years.

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What problem does your idea solve?

The lack of a language “Sign Language” hinders the cognitive and psycho-social development of Deaf children and their future effective participation in society.

Explain your idea

According to the National Institute of Statistics, there are 33,471 Deaf people in Rwanda. Evidence has shown that around 96 percent of deaf children are born to hearing parents without a slight knowledge on deafness or Sign Language. From birth to the time they access Sign Language, which usually delays, deaf children are without a language; which hinders their cognitive and psycho-social development and will affect their whole lives. In the Northern Province, our team met a 7 years old deaf girl whose hearing parents don’t know Sign Language; thus, they were not able to impart any language to their daughter (http://mediafordeafrwanda.org/iwd2016.html) . (We have now taken her to a nearby shcool and she is developing SL skills ) Consequently, she doesn’t even know her name. Such delays are in most cases caused by: • Parents who have no knowledge about Sign language/lack of accessible ECD programs. • The lack of didactic tools to support care givers/ parents and educators and • The lack of network between parents of the deaf and few special schools providing education for deaf children. In order to address this issue, we anticipate producing easy to use Demos (videos) that will equip ECD educators/parents with the skills to assist Deaf children in acquiring Sign Language in their early years. These demos will be accompanied by TOT to assist educators and parents in using the DVD.

Who benefits?

Deaf children of both sexes, below the age of 13 are our primary target group; their parents, caregivers and educators are our secondary target. Finally, the ECD centers (Rwamagana, Gasabo, Gakenke, Nyamagabe) will be targeted as platforms where deaf children can gather to have access to these demo assisted by care takers. In Rwanda 89.709 children aged 5 to 19 years are said to live with disabilities, Deaf children among others (NISR 2012).

How is your idea unique?

In Rwanda the ECD program along with the literacy program are among the priorities of the GoR. Many organizations are already involved in the implementation of the ECD Program. However, in the design of the program, the needs of deaf children were overlooked, as a result, these children lack access to the services offered by the ECD centers/programs and are thus left behind in acquiring literacy and other basic social skills. So, our idea is unique due to the fact that we will be the first organization to propose such an initiative and offer long term solutions to the inclusion of all children with specific needs, including deaf children in the ECD programs.

Tell us more about you

We are Media for the Deaf Rwanda, a local Non- Governmental Organizations that strives for media inclusion of Deaf and hard of Hearing people in Rwanda established in July 2014, after an academic dissertation done by the founder. We have included education in our priority ereas to address. We work in close partnership with the Rwanda National Union of the Deaf, the National Council of People with Disabilities and other Human rights and Disability organizations basing in Rwanda.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Many people in Rwanda are still skeptical about Rwandan Sign Language as it's not yet validated as an official language, it might be a barrier to its receptivity by the ECD centers. We must also figure out how we are going to expand the program to include other ECD centers, so that the whole country is covered. It is important for us to give deaf children access to all ECD centers.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Rwanda

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

Idea Maturity

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

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