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.