Prevention of blindness and deafness

International Week of the Deaf 2013: 23-29 September

Joseph’s story: Papua New Guinea

When Joseph lost his hearing following a bout of meningitis, his father faced extreme difficulty in finding a school that could teach him. In 1994, when Papua New Guinea made inclusion a part of its special education policy, teachers were trained in various aspects of disability. One of the new graduate teachers took Joseph to the town’s CBR centre. Joseph and his family received training in communication through sign language. The CBR worker also visited the family regularly and generated awareness within the community.

Joseph completed primary education with help from his teacher and the CBR worker but he did not achieve the grades necessary to go on to higher education. However, with his ability to communicate with deaf and hearing people alike, his open personality and social skills, Joseph’s potential to be a teacher was recognized. He was trained in CBR and teaching sign language. Today, Joseph is now the main teacher of sign language in his country.