Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program
Through the selling of Sign Language Tea Towels, Signs of Hope in Africa provides transportation costs associated with a group of Deaf children travelling to StoneTown (Zanzibar Town) to attend weekly sign language classes. Here in these classes they have the opportunity to learn sign language and interact with Adult Deaf role models. It is during these weekly sign language classes that these Deaf children learn from other Deaf children on the island and develop friendships and peer groups. Without a means to communicate these Deaf children are cut off from their family, peers and community. This program has also instructed family members, friends, neighbors and local school teachers on how to sign enabling them to interact with their Deaf children, siblings, friends, students which supports the Deaf children’s involvement with others in their village.
Recently a Tanzanian Doctor held a hearing clinic and conducted hearing tests on these Deaf children to determine if some or all of them may benefit from hearing aids. Results showed that some of the children might benefit from hearing aids. The Doctor identified the oldest boy, Issahaji as having strong sign language skills thanks to the weekly sign language classes he has been participating in for the past 5 years and is hoping that Issahaji will travel with him when he conducts further ear clinics at various locations throughout the island of Zanzibar. The Doctor has problems communicating with individuals when conducting these hearing clinics and he found Issahaji most helpful in explaining to others what to do during the test so that the Doctor is able to efficiently identify any residual hearing. This Doctor wants to train Issahaji to become his assistant when conducting future hearing clinics.