This article, contributed by an Austrailian Deaf woman called Ceilidh Dane working in Uganda, may make you glad you live where you live!
Or it might just make you want to find out about volunteering to help people in areas like this by visiting or in other ways. Please leave your comments and ideas at the bottom of the page…
Boanerges Deaf Initiative – Uganda East Africa
Do you know about the Deaf in Uganda? How they live and what is there for Deaf in Uganda? There are many Deaf people and children in Uganda. Deaf people use a sign language called Ugandan Sign Language (USL for short).
The Deaf people of Uganda are called or known as ‘Kasiru’ in their language, meaning ‘Stupid’ or ‘Foolish’. Deaf children are seen as evil or curse. It is thought as a spreadable sickness. There are no rights for Deaf people in Uganda. Deaf people can’t apply for a job, so they become very poor. Some Deaf people even children find other ways to make money by selling produce, items or hard or dirty labor work.
To most people in Uganda, sending a Deaf child to school is impossible and awaste of time. Most parents and families feel very ashamed to have a Deaf child. Deaf children suffer the most because their parents and communities reject them. They can be locked in a cage, tied to a tree or post, starved or brutally abused.
At Boanerges Deaf Initiative (BDI for short) we aim to provide the best education possible for our Deaf children. We have Deaf units within public schools for Deaf children to come to. We have a school in the North of Uganda with 90 Deaf children, and only one teacher. Also in the East of Uganda there are around 40 children in a Unit. In the centre in Kampala, there are currently 30 children in an old school facility that is being rented by BDI.
BDI was started as a small school of the Deaf and education opportunity for the community, under a tree! We are happy to say that we have some few acres in the North of Uganda and in the East for our future schools. In Kampala we have 5 acres of land ready to start building our school/Deaf education center. We hope to start building our dreams so that we may see a better environment for our children and have a place for Deaf people and families to come for friendship, education and any other help we will provide. We aim to be self sustainable and to support each other in BDI.
Our Director/founder is Joel Mwesigwa, a hearing man who had a Deaf brother. Joel’s brother became Deaf in his early teens and could not speak or communicate well. He did some carrying of goods as a small paid job. Police saw that he was carrying goods, but it was stolen goods from thieves. Joel’s brother could not understand what the police was trying to communicate about and the police thought he was being quiet because he stole the goods. He was beaten and burnt. Joel and his family found him and collected his ashes and buried him at their family burial site. This is how BDI was founded in 2006.
We are continuing strong and our children are smiling, still we face many challenges.
We appreciate any help from volunteers, the best time would be from January 2013. Joel is busy at the moment to look after volunteers. He is keeping the schools in order and growing crop on the land we bought. I will be in Uganda in 2013 so I can look after visitors.
If anyone wants to contact Ceilidh directly, with questions or offers of help, then contact us at Deaf Unity and we can put you in touch. Contact Us by clicking here.