Oru Paanai - Kaithady
Developing a Model Unit for Education of the Deaf In a War Affected Region in Sri Lanka
• Sri Lanka experienced unprecedented levels of internal conflict and civil war during the last three decades, resulting in massive loss of life and destruction of property
• The Nuffield Deaf and Blind School at Kaithady, Jaffna – Northern province of Sri Lanka – has been greatly affected by the Civil War
• The school which was founded in 1955, and is identified as the oldest and largest Institute which provides education in Tamil language for hearing impaired and visually impaired children
• The School has been destroyed and was displaced during the war and is now being rebuilt with the help of various charitable organisations within and outside Sri Lanka
• At present the school has 215 children, ages ranging from 7-18 years, 194 hearing impaired and 21 visually impaired
• The pupil : staff ratio is approx 12-15:1 (recommendation 5:1)
• There are no trained specialist staff to teach hearing impaired children
•Lack of trained staff to teach Hearing Impaired Children
•No audiological assessment for many children
•Non availability of hearing amplification for many children
•There are too many pupils per teacher at present
•To improve the educational opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children at The Nuffield School.
•To establish The Nuffield School as a Centre of Excellence for both audiological assessment, management and training of teachers for the hearing impaired children.
In February 2012 Oru Paanai has taken on as one of it’s projects, to improve the educational opportunities for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children of The Nuffield School for the Deaf and Blind, Kaithady, Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
This is part of a wider project to improve the facilities in this deaf and blind school so that it can act as a Regional Centre and provide training and support to other smaller deaf schools in the north of Sri Lanka.
Achievements to Date
•Initial Assessments of the needs of children and teachers in June & November 2011.
•Sri Lankan Doctors working in the field of Otolaryngology and Audiology in the UK joined up with Oru Paanai Charity and inaugurated the Kaithady Nuffield School Project.
•A Voluntary Team of Professionals including a Paediatrician, ENT Surgeon, Audiology Physician, Audiologist, General Physician and Specialist Teacher of the Deaf visited Kaithady. The team took 2 audiometers, digital hearing aids, programming and fitting equipment, solar batteries and chargers.
•All children and staff had a full a medical, Ear, Nose & Throat and audiological assessment done over a week.
•36 children and 2 members of staff were fitted with digital hearing aids.
•Solar powered batteries and chargers were issued to all.
•Three members of staff were trained to carry out hearing tests, take impressions for hearing aid moulds and to program the hearing aids.
Main aspects of Audiology are:
• Provide immediate help to 185 deaf children in The Nuffield School (already accomplished)
• Address longer term sustainability of audiology care at the school, this includes recruiting and training of audiologists
• Establishing an ear mould laboratory
• Facilities to programme and fit hearing aids and carry out minor repairs etc.
Anne East and Liz Barton, teachers of the deaf from the UK are visiting Kaithady in August 2012 to conduct a Teachers’ Training Course. (Supported by S.C.O.T. - Standing Committee Of Tamils. UK)
• Initial assessment of the Medical and Audiological needs of all the children (90% completed)
• Provide the children with appropriate amplification to access educational facilities provided by the school
• Maintain their amplification needs during the educational years in school
• Educating the children and the staff at the school about the care of the hearing aids including accessories
• Make The Nuffileld Kaithady School a Centre of Excellence for children with hearing impairment
• Facilitate vocational training to pursue a career for the future
It is expected that Nuffied School, Kaithady will act as a Centre of Excellence, extending the audiology services to other deaf schools and the community as a source of income generation.
There will be a gradual handover of the audiology services to the Church of Ceylon Board headed by the Bishop of Colombo once the above goals are completed so that at the end of the 5 year period the centre will be fully managed by them.