Student - June 13, 2013

Taking action for deaf children

This year, the proceeds from Ipso Facto's annual benefit event will go to a school for deaf children in Uganda. One of the school's directors is Ine Aerts, now a first-year International Development Studies student.

Learning deaf language in Uganda.
Initially, Ine was going to do voluntary work for one year at a school but she was so upset by the conditions for deaf children that she decided to stay on another year. 'Deaf children are often exploited and in extreme cases girls may be raped. The children's parents are often superstitious and see it as a punishment by God, so they prefer to keep their child hidden from the outside world.'
After she had got enough experience at the first school, she decided to set up a new school with two Ugandan teachers.  The first task was to find a suitable building to rent. 'We started with youth projects for deaf children where they would have the opportunity to learn a trade, and in the meantime we arranged the necessary documentation to start the school. The Ugandan government is very distrustful and wants to know exactly what you're planning.'
The school has now been going for a year; there are four teachers and forty children. Ine visits them regularly to see how things are going. 'It is incredible to see how the children are flourishing and how fast they are developing. Things change dramatically once the children learn sign language because they can express themselves for the first time. The people around them are also amazed at what the children turn out to be able to do.'

The benefit event 'Let's hear it for the Deaf' on Thursday 20 June is all about this project. There is a sponsored walk in the afternoon at De Bongerd, followed by bands and DJs in the evening.