Manuela and Lorna love teaching their deaf students at Bukhana Primary School!
Bukhana Primary School looks like many other rural elementary schools in the Busoga region of Uganda: a sea of children in matching uniforms, playing on the lawn and reciting lessons in the classroom.
But Bukhana is special because it is the only school in the region to teach deaf children alongside their peers who can hear. While there are some private schools in town that cater to special needs children, it is rare to see a school in the village that does so. Historically, a lack of sign language available in the classroom meant that children with impaired hearing didn’t get an education at all. That’s not true in Bukhana.
That’s one of the reasons why our Life Skills Education and Counseling program chose to teach in Bukhana this year. Bukhana is dedicated to inclusivity and welcoming children of all abilities into its classrooms. Kibo’s foundational commitment to diversity and unity makes us hopeful that our partnership with Bukhana will be especially fruitful.
Usually, the students with hearing impairment are in a separate classroom with a teacher who uses sign language. However, for Life Skills lessons, all of the children are brought together to learn about relationships, decision-making, communication, personal hygiene, and HIV/AIDS.
Children with other special needs also attend Bukhana primary school. The school has several children with autism and a couple children with albinism. Though albinism has no direct effect on learning needs, the local superstitions surrounding albinism mean many albino children suffer from excessive bullying and other forms of exclusion. This is mitigated in a school that is specially dedicated to inclusivity and diversity.
For their very first Life Skills lesson of the school year, Manuela and Lorna introduced the students to personal hygiene by teaching them about the importance of proper dental care. The lesson even included a guided demonstration of how to brush your teeth by some of the students who had answered questions earlier in the class. Those students got to keep the toothpaste and toothbrushes they received for the demonstration.
The primary school in Bukudumira village — the other school Life Skills is partnering with this year — got the same lesson on dental hygiene on their first day.
We are excited to see how we can further encourage inclusivity and diversity in Bukhana. We’re also excited for what the students will teach us about love, compassion, and unity as Life Skills meets with them weekly.
We request your prayers for all of this year’s Life Skills students in both Bukhana and Bukudumira!