Health & Education - Children who are Deaf DRCongo

by Solar Ear

CERBC continues to pursue its ultimate goals:

- Tackle exclusion and poverty through education and rehabilitative care to restore the dignity of people with disabilities through an integrated approach.

- Support and provide life skills to people with disabilities.

This new letter will give you brief information on the evolution of CERBC in the northern area of the DRC, and also show the impact of the contributions of our partners on the life of the population we are serving.

Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Impairment

Audiology Service

- 216 people were consulted and treated during this period, of which 165 (76%) patients were seen during mobile clinics (outreach programs) that took place in Aba and Faradge (300 km), in the Haut-UeleHealth District and Mahagi and Nyarambe (280 km)in the south of Ituri District.

- The strategy of using mobile clinics as outreach programs is very effective to bring care closer to the needy people. There is need of proper means such as a double cabin 4x4 to help the Project to reach more people, children and adults who suffer from hearing problems.

CERBC advocates new approaches and strategies to achieve in the next three years (2013-2015). The strategies will place emphasis on:

- Mobile clinics/outreach programs: More audiology and physiotherapy safaris to reach a large number of vulnerable persons in remote areas,

- Training CBR Workers at the community level in 18 health zones covered by CERBC,

- Capacity building of existing staff (in Orthopedics, ENT, Audiology, and maintenance)

- Provision of appropriate equipment and facilities for quality care.

Aru School for the Deaf (ESMA)

Everyone knows that education is the foundation of the mission assigned to ESMA, one of the strongest departments of Centre for Education and Community Based Rehabilitation (CERBC).

- ESMA offers: Primary, secondary (diploma level) and Vocational (Certificate) for Learners with Hearing, visual and Physical disability.

- Monday, September 3, 2012, was the launch of the new school year 2012-2013.

- Until 30th September, 117 students in total were registered, 55, (47%) are girls,

- Three (2) courses are offered in secondary that include: Tailoring and Secretariat and computer. Carpentry is a 2 year training program for boys who mainly join the school later. The program is delivered as a catch-up for youth and adults with disability.

- A training seminar for teachers was done in mid-august for 10 days. The seminar covered various concepts of disability including sign language.

- The school welcomed Mr Willie Fulton, one of the best friends of CERBC and Member of IPASC TRUST UK. Mr. Fulton was pleased to meet teachers and the board members of CERBC.


- Many deaf children are still at home; parents retain them because of lack of means to pay the school fees. For thisschool year one deaf child is supposed to pay a total of 205 USD$ per year for primary and 235 USD$ for secondary. The fees include school fees and boarding for 10 months. This amount seems to be expensive for most of parents of deaf children as about 80 % of them are local farmers living on less than one (1$ USD) per day.

- Lack of necessary equipment for training, such as computers, and other supplementary tools for carpentry.

Future perspective for Education of learners with Hearing Impairment

1. Train 30 to 50 young students with Hearing Impairment per year whose age range is between 14 and 25 in Carpentry, tailoring and other related areas of their choice;

2. Sustain training for a better future for youth with disabilities in order to meet the growing demand from the community,

3. Facilitating the employability of young people with disabilities through appropriate technical training that can ensure their integration into the job market in public or private sectors.


One of the objectives of CERBC is capacity building for people with disabilities and their organizations as
well as the empowerment of parents  with disabled children. Through CBR volunteers, DPOs are identified and CERBC provides training for members on several aspects: social, health, organizational as well as the rights of persons with disabilities.

Deaf girls on the parade of Woman's month
No one should be left behind in society. Deaf girls from the Aru School of the Deaf, ESMA, demonstrate their abilities, competence and membership in an active society. Ready outside the office of Aru Sub County, Deaf girls are the first to lineup for the walk followed by thousands of other girls, students from regular schools Each week the Directorate of Aru School for the Deaf receives new parents, who bring deaf children to register. Things never done before. But because of the limited capacity of the boarding, the Directorate of ESMA refers many children for future years.

The Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Impairment:
Audiology Service
11 patients under 5 years were consulted. We have used the distraction test (see fig7), but the results are not accurate because of the lack of certain equipment such as Digital sound level meter.
- Lack of hearing aids
- Improved sound proofing for good hearing test conditions.
-Lack of a technician for maintenance and repair of audiology equipment. For now the Centre uses a single audiometer, There is need to repair the second one.


The year 2010-2011 has been successful to all our beneficiaries including the orthopedic and audiology clinic and the School for the Deaf (ESMA) which has just changed its name to Centre for Education and Community Based Rehabilitation (CERBC), as recommended by the General assembly held on August 13th, 2010. Aru School for the Deaf (ESMA) remains as one of the Departments of CERBC which acts as an umbrella seeking support for both the school and Clinic.

CERBC is well structured, and focuses its work in special education and rehabilitative care. These two areas of action include several activities: the primary, secondary and vocational education of children including young
deaf, blind and physically handicapped. The Rehabilitation care includes counseling, physiotherapy and orthopedic corrections. At the Clinic level there is also the Audiology service with an Earmold laboratory which started as a small service attached to the school.

CERBC is located in the town of Aru Territory, in the north-eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our activities are mainly focused in two Health Districts: Aru and Watsa, with an estimated population of around 2.5 million inhabitants. With the aim of providing quality service to the community, CERBC has created links during the last two years with other national and international organizations for several reasons: capacity building of staff through training and provision of necessary materials and equipment.

We are always examining the way we develop and carry out our activities to make them more effective and efficient and we noticed the success of activities during the year 2010-2011, including the concentration of the staff, availability of basic material and resources, uninterrupted attendance of patients at the clinic, capacity building of staff, regular monitoring of the national education curriculum and planned activities, partnerships with various institutions and NGOs, donors’ support, good structuring of services as well as the security observed in Aru territory.

We thank God who has protected our work; we believe that His strong hand is on us to promote our work.

Please find more information in the attached report.


Dear friends, partners and collaborators,

CERBC, formerly Aru School for the Deaf (ESMA, is a Christian non-governmental organization that was founded in August 2004 in response to the high incidence of disability and low standard of living among people with disabilities in the northeast region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This situation is the result of the lack of services available to people with disabilities.


CERBC is a nonprofit organization specializing in support for persons with disabilities.

 The organization purpose is to:

-          Tackle exclusion and poverty through education and rehabilitative care to restore the dignity of people with disabilities through an integrated approach.

-          Support and provide life skills to people with disabilities.


Ensure a holistic integration of people with disabilities into the community.



To serve as a training and rehabilitation centre, to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and enable them to integrate fully into society.



CERBC is dedicated in working in the field of disability with different activities in three major departments namely:

-          Department of Special Needs Education:  that includes the education of visual and hearing impairment and physical disability in special and integrated schools,

-          Department of Community Based Rehabilitation:  includes prevention and rehabilitation through orthopedic and Audiology services, Research Department.



- Support Special and Inclusive Education for children and youth with visual, hearing and physical disabilities at all levels: primary, secondary, and vocational and university education in preparation for a full integration into social and economic life.

- Training of Special Needs Education Teachers, Community Based Rehabilitation Workers in order to equip them with skills for assisting people with disabilities in their own environment.

- To make available learning materials and mobility equipments. Such materials will include literature on sign language, Braille production and provision of wheelchairs and tricycles.

- Carry out extensive rehabilitation measures at an early stage for early detection and to provide treatment of curable conditions likely to cause permanent disabilities.

- Promote research in areas of visual, hearing and physical impairments in DR Congo.



-          Education (ESMA)

-          Education for children with hearing impairment

-          Education for children with visual impairment,

-          Training of Special Teachers,

-          Production of educational materials for special needs children,

-          Support the development and implementation of appropriate programmes of Special Education and Inclusive Programme,


Health promotion, prevention, medical care and rehabilitation.

-          Audiology care

-          Orthopedic care,

-          Physiotherapy and appliance

-          Disability and HIV/AIDS awareness

-          Training of Local Community – Based

-          Rehabilitation Workers

-          Capacity building for people with disabilities and their organizations as well as the empowerment of parents with disabled children


Partners and Collaborators

-          DIFAEM: German Institute for Medical Mission

-          Mission Evangélique Braille (MEB, Switzerland)

-          Fonds 1 % (One percent Fund for Development Switzerland),

-          Foundation Expanding Horizons (NL)

-          Kentalis (NL)

-          Solar Ear Brazil

-          Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss

-          Symbiosis Türkiye



Aru School for the Deaf (ESMA) since 2008 has focused not only in the education of hearing impairments children, but also run a school for Visual impairment and a community based-rehabilitation program. Considering the Education of Special Needs Children in the DRCongo, no policy has been defined to take into account the case of children with special needs education. Special education in its current state is a bit organized by religious and local NGOs and there is no proper national strategy plan for assessment, monitoring and supervision of children with exceptional Needs. That is why the category of children known as in difficult situations such as abandoned children, street children, disabled children, and children associated with armed conflicts, orphans, has a very low level of education.

In most of the rural areas where population are still stuck in their culture, emphasizes by the ignorance, for example where ESMA operates in Aru Sub- District,  Oriental province,  the birth of a child with a hearing impairment could be classified as mystery of evil. This stigma has made their social integration difficult if not impossible in many ways such as in accessing normal schools and employment.

The presence of ESMA as a special school for children with hearing impairments is not only to emphasize on changing the community’s view and the mentality of local people regarding disability issues, but contribute to their social integration and employability. The fact that hearing impaired children can express themselves by writing or manage to display their artistic potential is an innovation that overturns the attitudes of the society.

In addition, less research have been done in the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC), in the field of hearing impairment to tackle issue related to hearing Impairment and for good development of curriculum for hearing impaired.

On the light of the above concerns, ESMA, as a Comprehensive Center for Rehabilitation and Integration in North-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has set up two major programs:

-          Education of children with hearing Impairment,

-          Ear care that includes (prevention, cure and rehabilitation).

We will receive collaboration from Solar Ear and Symbiosis to support deaf and hard of hearing children in the northern DRCongo.

In order to enable disabled people to improve their quality of life, non-funding support such as volunteers for ESMA School and the Clinic is highly needed in the field of physiotherapy, speech therapy, Audiology, Training of local Staff.

With the donations we collected with Friends and Colleagues throught Global Giving and other in-kind contributions, on the 17th of April  a team of 5 people: plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, ENT surgeon, audiologist and the tech will go to DR Congo for a voluntary work at the ESMA school for the Deaf, for 15 days.

With more donations we will be able to continue the project on the second semester 2011 with more professionals making a training on speech Language Therapy for teachers and a Training for Parents.


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Organization Information

Solar Ear

Location: Sao Paulo, SP - Brazil
Website: http:/​/​
Solar Ear
Project Leader:
Howard Weinstein
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Brazil

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