Deaf Kenyan Community

Posted on 13 February 2007. Filed under: Disability, Diversity, International |

Ever since Andrew Foster graduated from Gallaudet in the 1950s and established schools for deaf children throughout Africa, Gallaudet has been closely linked in many ways to many of the African Deaf communities. Kenya is one of several African countries that has sent Deaf students to Gallaudet University.

If you’re a Gallaudet student, staff, faculty, or alumni and you’ve always been curious to learn more about the countries where some of your classmates and colleagues come from, the Internet now offers a range of resources that were not available even just a few years ago.

One web site you can check out was just created by the Deaf community in Kenya: http://www.disabilitykenya.org/.

Other resources you may want to explore include: Global Deaf Connection, an organization based in the United States that works to improve the quality of deaf education in developing countries such as Kenya, Jamaica, and the DR of Congo; the deafintl email-based discussion group (aka “listserver” or “mailing list”) for deaf people in developing countries and other interested allies; and, of course, the World Federation of the Deaf.

There is also a blog sporadically maintained by Adam, who is currently working at a school for deaf children in Sri Lanka called Found in Ceylon.

[Be a guest blogger at Reunify Gally! Your essay submissions should be related in some way to reunifying or healing the Gallaudet community in the aftermath of the protests, or to diversity within the Gallaudet or wider deaf community. If interested, review my Guidelines for Guest Bloggers and submit your essay to ashettle (at) patriot.net]

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6 Responses to “Deaf Kenyan Community”

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Ummm… Did Andrew Foster establish schools for deaf children throughout Africa? Maybe I should have better said it another way. Did Gallaudet establish schools for deaf children throughout America? I hope somebody volunteering to enlighten me on Foster’s work in Africa.

Gallaudet University did not, as far as I know, directly establish any deaf schools in America or anywhere else. However, I’m sure many Gallaudet alumni were involved in establishing deaf schools in the United States.

Dr. Andrew Foster was the first deaf black man to enter and graduate from Gallaudet University. There is some controversy about the exact number of schools he established in Africa, but it is known that he spent about 30 years of his life from the 1950s through the 1980s to the endeavor of spreading deaf education in Africa. He raised funds from churches and the deaf community in the United States (and spent a certain amount of time doing this I think pretty much each year) and then would go back to Africa and establish a new school somewhere. Dr. Foster died in a plane crash in the 80s (I think in about ’86 or ’87).

If you google his name, you should find plenty of information about him. I also imagine that the National Black Deaf Advocates (I might have their name wrong) may well have further information about him on their web site or might otherwise be able to point you to appropriate resources.

This is to let you all know that Kenya has a Sign language interpreters association (KSLIA) it is in its infancy, struggling but we have a strong belief that it will be a strong association.

As many of the Interps know it took WASLI many years to become what it is today……RID too took several years to form and become strong and fuctioning. Interps out there willing to share thier expertise and experiences should get in touch with the Chair for more details.

Surely there is more to Kenyan Deaf Community than what I have read here…..Gally grads from Kenya please stand up and represent Kenya!

Hi – thanks for linking to my blog.

However, I’m wondering why I was identified as a “deaf man with a cochlear implant.” To be frank, I feel offended.

What was the need here to point out that I use a CI–what is the relevance? Does it help readers understand my blog better? Do you also point out whether other bloggers use hearing aids, or wheelchairs, or canes? Is pointing out usage of auditory aids somehow part of your overall mission to help reunify Gallaudet? Honestly, I do feel very marginalized when I am described in this way.

Adam: I apologize. It was not my intent to “marginalize”–though in re-reading my post I can see where it could come across this way.

One of the things I have tried to do with this blog (though I haven’t added to it recently) is to help bring attention to diversity issues in general. And as one part of that, I try to encourage people to read blogs by people whose experiences and backgrounds might be different from their own. So, yes, in that context, I *DO* sometimes specifically say, for example, “Christie has a blog where you can learn about her perspectives as a deaf-blind woman” (not an exact quote, but that was the general intended purpose of another, earlier blog post here).

When I refer to diverse characteristics of people, it is usually with the purpose of calling attention to an opportunity to learn about diverse experiences. Although neither your deafness nor your CI are the focus of your blog, you have occasionally made references to both and I think I recall that you even had a nice blog post a while ago focused specifically on your CI (or, more precisely, not having it for a while).

And I try to make CI users a part of this overall diversity because there is sometimes a split where some Deaf people think CI users automatically don’t “belong” in the Deaf community, so I try to help overcome this.

But you are correct that there are times when references to specific personal characteristics, such as CI usage, is simply not relevant and thus becomes offensive. For this reason, I will delete the reference as soon as I post this comment. I apologize for my offense to you.

I need more info on Andrew Foster for my ASL project. Could you please post some childhood and education info on him? I can’t find any other info anywhere. Thank You.


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