In March 2015 the Muslim Hands Comms team travelled to Somalia to check out some of the projects we're running there. One of the projects they had the privilege of going to see was the Muslim Hands supported deaf school, the only one of its kind in the whole of Somalia.
The school which is run by the Somali National Association of the Deaf (SONAD) provides education and training to 183 students. When our team visited, the atmosphere was lively and friendly, the pupils clearly benefiting from the positive environment. The school gives deaf children and adults the opportunity to learn a variety of subjects including sign language in Somali, Arabic and English, reading, maths and Islamic studies. Without the school, the students would have no other way of accessing an education.
Being deaf in Somalia makes it very difficult to travel from A to B. With no provisions made for them on public transport, travelling to school can be a bewildering experience for a deaf person. As there is no way of knowing the destination of a bus except through the conductor’s announcement, a straightforward journey can quickly become overwhelming. This unfortunately led to the death of a student in 2014.
Some of the students travel from as far as 10km away. Such was their determination to study, they put aside their fears and made the dangerous journey every day. During our visit, the staff highlighted this issue and stressed the need for buses to transport the children to and from the school.
That Ramadan, we appealed for £5,000 to pay for one bus to transport students safely and securely to and from school. Thanks to the generosity of our amazing donors, not only did we hit this target, but we absolutely smashed it! We managed to raise an astonishing £15,000, enough to pay for two buses plus their running costs for the foreseeable future!
On behalf of everyone at Muslim Hands and SONAD, we would like to thank all of our donors and supporters for helping to improve the lives of deaf people in Somalia. They will be able to travel to school in safety, ensuring they have a better chance of completing their studies and empowering them to make a greater contribution to the future of their country.
By Tijen Horoz, Senior Communications Editor