Saturday, 27 June 2009

Schools in the village

This week I had the chance to visit the secondary school, and the school for the deaf children with Charles. I spoke with the headmaster for a little bit about children with disabilities at the school. He seemed very open to having children with disabilities at their school, but was honest in that not many were trained and equipped to handle it. Schools consist of wooden bench desks, dirt floors, brick walls, and one chalkboard. Students may have one writing utensil and a small notebook. The secondary school had 3 classrooms, with 3 different levels of students. One level was studying English, the other geography, and the other chemistry. The students there appeared very well disciplined and respectful. The headmaster did indicate that there was trouble keeping the student numbers up due to students getting sick and not having enough money for school fees. They had about 72 students at the secondary school, and 3 teachers, but the teachers were not there full time.
The school for the deaf children was quite interesting. Ugandan sign language and American sign language have some similarities, so I was able to communicate with the kids and learn some more signs as I went along. The students at that school also stay sleep there. Some of them were born deaf and others had become deaf due to diseases like Malaria or syphilis. Several of the students were orphans, which was very sad, but also encouraging that the school gave them a place to go. The resources are very bare there. One chalkboard and a few posters of the sign alphabet. Students sleep in a very small room in bunks, but they don't seem to know life any differently and are grateful for the love and attention given to them by the teachers and staff there. There were many students missing that day at the school because they had gone to a village to have a soccer/futbol/football competition with other schools. The students have found ways to express themselves and have learned how to communicate more effectively using sign language, but more education is needed for them to progress further. They were a joy to be around!

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