Woodford Foundation Changing lives in Africa

Deaf children living in poor countries are some of the most vulnerable children in the world.   They are often isolated, rejected and abused.

Woodford is the Shrewsbury based charity dedicated to helping them.

Their office is hidden away behind Shrewsbury’s Music Hall, but from there Woodford is transforming the lives of “hidden” children in Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

In these countries hearing aids are not an option as families cannot afford batteries. There are, though, more disturbing reasons for their isolation. So little is known about deafness that people believe these children are cursed. Families hide them away. Very few go to school and even when they do go their teachers cannot communicate.
Woodford works to change this. Project Manager Karen Goodman-Jones said, “parents and teachers are so relieved to know that they do not have to fear deaf children. Once valued and supported these children can grow up to support themselves and contribute to their communities.”

She gives the example of Tom, who was adopted by neighbours when his parents died of AIDS. When they discovered he was deaf they made him live outside with the animals for six years. A Woodford project found him and brought him into a loving home. He now goes to school and learns sign language.
Woodford has seen many such successes. In Uganda a pre-school for young deaf children ensures they get the best start in life. In Tanzania the first Vocational Training Centre for deaf young people is about to see its first students graduate with skills in carpentry and tailoring. And in Malawi thousands of families, teachers and community leaders have been trained in awareness and communication.

You can go to Woodford’s website for information about what they do, how they work, and how you can help www. woodfordfoundation.org.uk contact them on 01743 364644 or email [email protected]

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