of Deaf Teachers

Real People, Real Needs: Exploring the
Experiences and Perspectives about
Opportunities and Obstacles of the Deaf
Education Program in Dadaab Refugee
Camp, Kenya
Megan Youngs
M.A. Candidate
Comparative, International and Development
Education / Educational Administration
 Definitions
 Rationale
Research Questions
Theoretical Framework
Who are the Refugees?
“increasingly, both pure refugees and
purely economic migrants are ideal
constructs rarely found in real life; many
among those who routinely meet the
refugee definition are clearly fleeing both
dislocation”(Papademitriou, 1993, p. 212)
Forced migration
Human-made & natural disasters
Refugees & Long–Term Displacement
Protracted Refugee Situations
“One in which refugees find themselves in a
long-lasting and intractable state of limbo.
Their lives may not be at risk, but their basic
rights and essential economic, social and
psychological needs remain unfulfilled after
years in exile. A refugee in this situation is
often unable to break free from enforced
reliance on external assistance” (UNHCR,
Education in Emergencies
► Access
to education is a human right, enshrined in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and numerous other
international laws and treaties.
► Studies have cited basic education as a tool to
protect children and youth and promote peace,
stability and sustainable development (Sinclair,
2002; Mendenhall, 2008; Bethke, 2004; Razzak,
► Education is also the “basis for reducing poverty
and inequality, improving health, enabling the use
of new technologies, and creating and spreading
knowledge” (EFA, 2008)
Two Major Perspectives
pathological (medical-centric) vs. cultural-linguistic
Contradictory views and attitudes towards Deafness.
The contradiction stems from several centuries old
dichotomy entrenched in the “inherent unequal power
dynamics” (Anderson and Barrera, 1995) which form the
exoskeleton of the Deaf educational institutions and
Context: Deaf in Kenya
► 70
Deaf learning institutions
41 Deaf schools
30 Deaf Units
3 Secondary Schools
3 Vocational Secondary Schools
► 60
to 70 Deaf teachers
 Kenya Federation of Deaf Teachers (KFDT)
What about the
refugee camps in
Real People, Real Needs – Theme of World Refugee Day 2009
 Emphasis on the “need to do much more to heed the voices
emerging from the South itself” (Crossley and Watson, 2003, p.90
and Teasdale & Teasdale, 1999; Holmes, 2001) particularly to better
understand the realities and the roles that educational institutions
situated in rural parts of the country with basic infrastructure play
in Deaf refugees’ lives.
 Research in the refugee field is relatively a new field, and this study
will be one of the first attempts to explore existing educational
opportunities for Deaf refugees in a refugee camp. There are large
gaps in our understanding of the lived experiences of Deaf refugees
in a refugee camp. Very little is known about Deaf refugees in the
refugee camps.
 To document existing educational and civil society opportunities
in Africa (often unknown to the international Deaf community),
both in the academic and voluntary sectors.
Research Questions
What role does the Deaf education in
refugee camps play in Deaf refugees’ lives?
1) What are the stakeholders’ experiences and perspectives of
the opportunities associated with Deaf education?
2) What are the stakeholders’ experiences and perspectives of
the obstacles associated with the Deaf education?
3) What strategies are stakeholders associated with the Deaf
education units employing or advocating to address the
continuing challenges and needs for Deaf refugee’s education?
Theoretical Framework
The Triple I Model proposed by Miles
(Video Journal of Education, 1987)
Linked to
High Profile
Clear Model
 Orchestration
 Shared Control
 Pressure and
 Technical
 Rewards
 Embedding
 Links to
 Widespread Use
 Removal of
 Continuing
Illuminative evaluation methodology (Parlett & Hamilton,
6 weeks fieldwork at Dadaab Refugee Camp (June to July
On site observations
Semi structured interviews (videotaped)
 Translators
 Sign Language Interpreter
Western/academic values vs. Cultural values
Unique transcribing process with multiple languages
Multiple Languages and
“Street (1999) states global agendas related to literacy have
distorted people’s thinking because they have overlooked
the fact that within any culture there are many different
‘literacies,’ each with its own code and validity” (Crossley
and Watson, 2003, p.87).
Kenya Sign Language
 Somali Sign Language
 Home signs
 Kiswahili
 Somali
 English
7 students
9 students
2 students
3 teachers
10 teachers
3 teachers
2 community members
5 community members
14 community members
2 SNE teacher/inspector
2 SNE teacher/inspector
2 SNE teacher/inspector
1 headmaster
3 headmasters
2 headmasters
1 CARE Basic Education Director
Dadaab Refugee Camp
300,000 refugees
 camp facilities are
designed to meet the
capacity of 90,000
 Monthly influx of
approx. 6,500 new
 Approx. 30,000+
refugees with hearing
loss in the camps.
3 compounds within
Dadaab separated by 5
miles radius
 Ifo
 Dagahaley
 Hagadera
Numerous implementing
and managing
organizations working in
partnership with UNHCR
Action Against Hunger,
Filmaid International, HI,
“Coming from a small rural village and I didn’t understand anything. They gave
us new identification and ration cards. They gave us food and told us to stay at
home... I did not know the area at all, I was afraid to get lost so my mother told me
to stay. If I got lost, then I would remain lost because how do I hear my mother call
my name? Then someone who was white, I didn’t know who, he came and talked
with my father. He was surprised that I was Deaf. They tried to figure out what to
do with me and touched me. I did not even understand at all as I did not even sign
back then, I only knew Somali Sign Language. I didn’t know Kenyan Sign
Language at all...
Time went by, I waited and waited, then in 1992, I finally started my first school.
Yes, I was one of the first Deaf to go to school... Teachers didn’t know anything
about Deaf, this was the first time and there was no signing. The teacher came
from Kenya. He first taught us ABC’s and we learned fast. I was around 10 years
old when I started school ... I would play a lot and I would learn. I had shorts. I
kept on playing and playing, then in 1994, we went up to next level. In 1994,
Stephen came! Stephen came and was surprised to see Deaf people here, there was
not many [Deaf people] back then, not like today, there was only few. Stephen
asked us if it would be fine if he videotaped us, he did and videotaped of us
showing signs, everything about our camp life, camels, home, school, everything.
Stephen was satisfied, he gave us few things then he left. Stephen would come and
go ... he was not a teacher, he was responsible for several camps.”
(Teacher 13)
Historical Timeline
1991 – 1st influx of refugees arrive from Somalia
1992 – First Deaf Unit was established at Ifo (12 students at
1992 to 1994 – two more Deaf Units were established at
Hagadera and Dagahaley (including at Liboi holding
1994 – Mr. Stephen Gachuhi appointed as Disability Program
2004 – Mr. Fanuel Randiki appointed as Special Education
Officer for CARE
First batch of Deaf students attended Secondary School
in Kenya
2006 – Three Special Education Teachers from Kenya were
appointed by CARE for each camp
First annual Deaf inter-camp football tournament
Deaf Units in Dadaab
Deaf Units
Halane Unit
Horseed Unit
Midnimo Unit
Western Unit
Central Unit
Unity Unit
Jubba Unit
Deaf Units
Central Unit
Halane Unit
Midnimo Unit
Horseed Unit
Enrolment of
Deaf Students
in this Camp
225 Deaf
students* #
158 Deaf students*
Enrolment of
Deaf Students
in the Unit
Deaf 28 students (std. 7 students (3 are 25 students (std.
Students (3 are 1 to 5) (6 are
integrated & 4
1 to 4)
in integrated)
are in the unit)
Std. 8)
Unity Unit
Jubba Unit
167 Deaf students*
9 students (6 are
Deaf, 2 has
disabilities & 1
has low vision
and additional
challenges) in
std. 1 & 2
9 Deaf students
(3 girls & 6
boys) 2 are in
std. 2 and the
rest are in std. 1
# of classrooms 2 classrooms
3 classrooms
1 classrooms
1 classroom and 1 classroom and Shares the
1 blackboard for 1 blackboard for classroom with
3 teachers
2 teachers
the Blind Unitc
Total # of
3 Teachers of
Teachers of the the Deaf (One
hearing female,
2 are KISE
4 Teachers of
the Deaf
3 Teachers of
the Deaf
3 Teachers of
the Deaf (One
hearing female)
2 Teachers of
the Deaf
1 Teacher of the
# of Deaf
1 Deaf Teacher
1 Deaf Teacher
1 Deaf Teacher
1 Deaf Teacher
1 Deaf Teacher
No Deaf
(Basic Education Director, Special Education
Teachers, Special Education School
Inspectors and Headmasters)
Building Community
Awareness and Outreach
Deaf Units and Deaf
Teachers as Role Models
Competing Priorities and
Lack of Technical
 Sign language training
 Funding
 Focus on access to
 High turnover
“the quality of education for the Deaf went down when teachers do not have
sign language skills” (Administrator 5, 2009).
Deaf Units and Deaf
Teachers as Role Models
Lack of Technical
Assistance Linked to
 Sign language
(hearing and Deaf teachers)
 Heavy workload (Levels,
teachers, support,
resources and teaching
School is “a very special thing because you learn everything, to know things, how to
communicate, to become a better person. If there is no school, many will become thieves, rape
girls and use drugs. Education will help you in the future so that Deaf can be equal with the
world” (Teacher 6, 2009)
Deaf Students
Opportunity to Access to
Social Interaction
Community Stigma
Lack of Link to
 Sign language proficiency
 Upper primary level
Difficult Transition to
Deaf Secondary School in
“When the board is full with writing, the teacher would read until it becomes hard to sign,
harder to sign then he will just point at the word or he would just stop and leave the
classroom. But now we have one Deaf teacher with sweet hands – he is complete! I get full
information. Deaf teacher teaches me English and GHC but the rest of subjects – there is big
problem there for me. I love English very much because it means the world, everything is in
it” (Student 7, 2009)
Community Members (Parents)
Discovering the Deaf
Positive Changes in their
Deaf Child
Community Stigma and
Emotional Well-Being
 Separate Deaf School
“Before I came here as a refugee, I have never believed that Deaf children can learn in school
until I came here and was surprised to find out that Deaf children can learn normally like
other children. I know from here. I am happy for this when I see these children can learn”
(Parent 2, 2009).
“Before I brought my children in school, it is like walking in the darkness but now with
education it is like light, they have light from the teachers” (Parent 1, 2009).
Deaf Units and ‘Triple I’
•Orchestration and
Shared Control (?)
•Pressure (Support?)
•Technical Assistance (?)
•High Profile Need
•Strong Advocate
•Clear Model of
Change (?)
•Widespread Use
•Removal of Competing Priorities (?)
•Continuing Assistance (?)
Why bother?
 Sign Language as a Tool for Accessibility
 Deaf as Agents
Importance of understanding different
perspectives (opportunities and obstacles)
 Its impact on the ‘structure’, involved
stakeholders, program’s aims
 Its strengths and weaknesses
I want to express my deepest appreciation
for everybody who truly believed in me and
encouraged me to push myself beyond what
I would have thought I was capable of
By locating this particular iceberg floating
among masses of icebergs, I have come to
shed light on this iceberg, this research is
for the Deaf refugees floating across the
deserts of Africa.