Gambia’s only deaf school receives IT boost

A Scottish college has donated information technology equipments to a charity programme that has been helping St John’s School, Gambia’s only learning institution for the deaf.

deaf

A charity supporting a school for the deaf in the Gambia has received a boost from South Lanarkshire College.

Project Gambia will receive a range of IT equipment from the Cumbernauld-based college, including 20 notebooks, 10 laptops and a range of software adapted for children with hearing impairments at St John’s School for the Deaf.

Sign Language: fate of Gambia’s “forgotten” minority language

Paul Devine and Frank Lafferty of the charity said they were delighted with the college’s pledge, given during a meeting with Depute Principal Angus Allan.

Frank said: “We really can’t thank South Lanarkshire College enough for supporting the boys and girls at St John’s in this way.

“The first time we went to the school we only had enough bags of rice with us to feed the children for six to eight weeks.

“Now we operate a school feeding programme – funded entirely by our supporters in Scotland and elsewhere – every day of the school year.

“We’ve provided every child at the school with two new school uniforms each – made locally thereby providing much needed employment for tailors and seamstresses in a country ravaged by poverty and astronomical rate of unemployment.

“We’ve organised four shipments of clothing to the school over the past 12 months, and the list goes on, but the partnership with such a prestigious and respected educational establishment as South Lanarkshire College opens up all sorts of exciting possibilities for the school.”

Paul, of Bellshill, and Frank, of Motherwell, spent the end of 2014 in The Gambia after organising a ‘Sponsor a Classroom’ appeal.

The pair have continued their work in West Africa, donating 1000 hearing aids to the children in St John’s.

College staff Linda Young, Head of Information Systems, and IT support supervisor, Chris Sumner, also helped with the IT donations.

Paul added: “We would like to thank Angus Allan, Linda Young and Chris Sumner for agreeing to support our charity’s efforts on behalf of St John’s School for the Deaf, as well as SLC lecturer, John McAuley, who started the ball rolling for us, thus making it possible for us to support the school in this way.”

Deaf in Gambia

Updated statistics on the number of deaf people in The Gambia are hard to come by.

However, according to The Gambia Deaf Children’s Support Project, conservative estimates shows approximately about 4500-5000 are deaf or hard of hearing in the country though the only scientific study of deafness in The Gambia was carried out in 1985.

This figure is almost the size of a small town in a country where population fall little under 2 million.

The organization though said accurate estimates are not really possible as there has never been any routine hearing assessment screening in place.

Source: Glasgow Evening Times

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