Melaku was one of 8 deaf teaching assistants involved in our project on Improving education for deaf and hard of hearing children with DDIA in Ethiopia.

When he started working at Adama School, there were no special educational needs (SEN) teachers or resources. Melaku worked with the school director Teshane to refurbish the disused library and make it suitable for SEN and sign language teaching. “I told the director and teachers about my experience and how deaf people learn, and they listened. We then made the classroom exciting and interesting for the students.”

In addition, Melaku taught sign language to teachers, parents, and the hearing schoolchildren. “At first it was hard: people did not want to come, but the director has encouraged all grade 1-4 teachers, and the children have told their parents to go.” The enthusiasm has been far greater than he expected: “In year 1 I taught sign language to 23, so I expected about the same for year 2… but 48 children came!”

Melaku was very positive about the project’s impact on the school but wanted to do more, particularly to improve access to sport education.