Ecole Ephphatha pour les Sourds - EES
Improving the educational environment and communications skills for deaf children, Burundi
Ephphatha School was founded in 1981 on a hillside overlooking the capital Bujumbura and is registered as a social project of the Community of Emmanuel Churches. With support from international sponsors they have been welcoming and teaching deaf children from all over the country. The second and only other deaf school in Burundi is the Centre d’Education Spécialisée pour Déficients Auditifs (CESDA), Gitega.
EES staff worked closely with DDP on the year long research project ‘Education and communications needs of deaf children in Burundi’ in 2010/11 during which we learned of the school’s many urgent needs.
Since 2011, with support from the Jersey and Guernsey Overseas Aid Commissions, the Evan Cornish Foundation, British & Foreign Schools Society, the Cotton Trust and Deafkids International, we have embarked on a programme to improve the school’s infrastructure, the quality of teaching, sign language skills, income streams (an egg production unit), and sports and transport facilities.
Parents, siblings of deaf children and members of the deaf community are key to improving the situation of deaf children and they too have been involved in school activities and are taking part in sign language and interpretation training courses. The Parents Association was given a small grant to initiate a nation-wide awareness campaign and to ascertain the number of deaf children of school going age.
Main photo: Top primary pupils at EES prepare for secondary education