Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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SERVANTS 14 JUNE/JULY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay G lory Banda was born in Malawi. She was also born deaf. Soon after her parents realized their child couldn't hear, her father divorced her mother. Glory's mother, desperate and brokenheart- ed, returned to live in her parents' home. A child, who should have been a blessing, became the source of grief and pain. Glory's mother and grandmother eked out a living selling charcoal and tomatoes at the market in Mzuzu, in northern Malawi. Most days the little girl was left at home out of shame that she could neither hear nor speak. Sometimes she was locked indoors in fear that some- thing would happen to her. Only occasionally did Glory play with other children. But because she could not communicate, the other children ostracized her. Most Malawian children with disabilities face a grim future, especially those who have hearing impairments. Of the estimated 200,000 people with hearing dis- abilities in the country, 98 percent are illiterate; only 2 percent have jobs. And yet, there are only six primary schools for children who are hearing-impaired. Only an estimated 3 percent of children with hearing disabilities even attend school. There are many reasons for this: The cost is too high, schools are too far away, the family can't afford transportation, the child is not accepted into a special school, there are not enough spe- cially trained teachers, the family is ashamed and hides the child, or the child is ashamed and afraid of being teased. One Sunday morning, though, hope came to the Banda family. Glory's mother attended worship in Mzuzu at a prayer house that was part of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Livingstonia (CCAP Livingstonia). CCAP is an international church partner of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). During worship, it was announced that assessments would be done at Mzuzu Central Hospital for children with hearing impairments. Glory's mother took her, and she was picked to start first grade at Embangweni Primary School for Children with Hearing Disability, about 80 miles from Mzuzu. It takes a village to raise a child. Or so the saying goes. But a village is not enough to raise children with disabilities in Malawi. For them, it takes the global community working together to address the challenges they encounter. And such a com- munity has taken up the challenge at two boarding schools for children with hearing disabilities. These schools are the Embangweni Primary School for Children with Hearing Disability — serving around 200 students annually — and the recently established Embangweni Secondary School for the Deaf, which currently serves 50 students. Both schools are tucked away in rural northwestern Malawi. In 1994, CCAP Livingstonia pastor the Rev. Lloyd Tembo and teacher M.B. Hara, together with American Presbyterians Tom and Educating the hearing-impaired Malawi schools give children a chance at life BY NANCY COLLINS Students at the Embangweni Secondary School for the Deaf get instruction on how to use their e-readers. The school, in rural northwestern Malawi, currently serves 50 students. ELIZABETH ALLEN

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