Mugabekazi Rayuna, aged 9 years, is among the beneficiaries the ECD program implemented with support from DeafReach. She is a pupil at Masaka School for Children with Special Needs Education (MSE) currently in primary one. Ruyuna has a humble background as child rescued from the street by one of the partners (Community Restoration & Outreach-CRO ) in Masaka disability network, having been abandoned by her own family who could cope with a deaf child!
In the year 2018, she joined school under the ECD program and got enrolled in baby class where she was helped to develop her sign language communication, socialize with other children and begin her education journey, but without parental support at the time.
At school (at MSNE) Rayuna was introduced to and gradually inducted into basic sign language communication, progressing from gestures to signing, reading and writing.
She became one of the active pupils and has progressed well, learning to sign her name from baby class. She was easily promoted to middle class and later to top class where more skills in language development and identification of objects. By the time she completed preschool last year, Rayuna was able to communicate well in sign language, interact with friends clearly construct good and meaningful stories.
Rayuna was one of the children followed up during the (COVID-19) lockdown last year and she was excited to see her teacher who also handed over some simplified booklets. During the community follow-ups, in conjunction with CRO, the school was eventually able to locate her parents in one of the slums in Masaka – There are ongoing efforts to bond the child with the family with emphasis on communication and care obligations. There is good progress and the family is scheduled to make a mentorship visit in care and support at the school at the end of this month.
Unlike other children that have not gone through the preschool program, who encounter a lot of difficulty in communication, Rayuna is one of the enviable children in her primary one class as a very happy child, confident sign language user , good socialization and interpersonal skills.
She is proud to sign : “Me communicate good sign language.”