It has been observed by Diep Ark Ministries International that Most of Uganda’s deaf children grow up with limited to no support with communication or language. They miss conversations and education about sexual relationships, abuse, pregnancy and HIV, because peers, teachers, and health workers cannot communicate with them. This leaves them vulnerable to HIV – the second leading cause of adolescent death in the region.
Deaf young people face many barriers to information, and have many rights denied. This can have a devastating effect on their lives, especially when this is around SRH information – early pregnancy, STI's, forced marriage and sexual violence and exploitation are just a few of the areas where deaf young people are hugely at risk, far more than their hearing peers, and consequently are in need of support and guidance. One of the most significant barriers is around communication, sign language interpreters are not provided at health centres/ hospitals, meaning deaf young people cannot access the information or communicate with health care providers. Many deaf young people have very low, or no literacy skills, some have no sign language, and so accessing SRH information is virtually impossible for them.
Our idea is that with the right information and support, deaf young people themselves are the best placed to make decisions about their health, and to reach other deaf youth in their communities. We will empower deaf young people in the Busoga sub region by providing them with comprehensive sexual education, combined with training in sign language and communication that will allow them to communicate effectively with their families, teachers and health service providers, and to be informed advocates for their rights. To ensure that young people can access deaf-friendly education and services, we will train service providers in communicating with deaf service providers.
What our grantee is saying: “While one may concede that sexuality is a basic human need, awareness and knowledge about sexuality are shaped through a range of contextually specific socio-cultural and religious ideas and practices. People with disabilities are systematically denied access to knowledge about sexuality, sexual behaviour and services leading to their sexual marginalisation. Diep Ark Ministries International is committed to make special interventions in reducing violations and promoting inclusion of persons with disabilities within Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) policy and programming, and the limited disability awareness of service providers.”
Funded by Disability (April 2019)