Have You Heard? | God's World News
Have You Heard?
News Shorts
Posted: April 11, 2024
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    Mouhamed Sall, who is deaf, attends class at the Guinaw Rail Sud public high school in Pikine, Senegal, on March 18, 2024. (AP/Sylvain Cherkaoui)
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    Mouhamed Sall communicates using sign language at school. (AP/Sylvain Cherkaoui)
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    Mouhamed Sall uses sign language. (AP/Sylvain Cherkaoui)
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    Mouhamed Sall draws in class. (AP/Sylvain Cherkaoui)
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Mouhamed Sall steps up to the chalkboard. He asks an assistant a quick question in sign language. Then he solves the exercise. Go, Mouhamed! His classmates wave their hands to show appreciation.

Some schools in Senegal are having deaf and hard-of-hearing kids learn alongside kids with hearing. Togetherness is good for everyone. Some hearing classmates learn sign language too.

“I have no problem communicating with some colleagues I went to primary school with,” Mouhamed signs. His mother translates. “The new colleagues don’t know sign language, but we still play together.” (A colleague is someone you work or learn with.)

“We’ve been friends, so it was easy to learn sign language,” says classmate Salane Senghor. She knew Mouhamed in primary school. Other classmates are curious. They look to the assistant to find out what Mouhamed says.

In some parts of the world, many kids with disabilities do not go to school. Senegal, a nation in western Africa, is one of these places. More than half of disabled kids there don’t attend school. Before now, most who did had to pay for expensive private schools only for kids with disabilities.

God designed and loves all people—disabled or not. But in Senegal, many parents are ashamed of their kids’ disabilities. Some parents even hide their disabled kids!

Now attitudes are changing. In 2021, Senegal’s football team for deaf and hard-of-hearing players won the first African football championship for such teams. It played in the world championship. During a recent election, organization workers helped hard-of-hearing voters prepare to vote. They taught them over 100 election-related terms in sign language.

And now deaf kids are welcome in classrooms too.

“We see that all children are on an equal footing, and that’s why we make an inclusive class,” says assistant Papa Amadou.

One of the best parts? Mouhamed’s mother doesn’t have to pay for his schooling. That’s a big deal in Senegal. Many families there struggle with school bills.

A few problems remain. Here’s one: Public school teachers are new to sign language. Sometimes their pupils know more than they do!

Live in harmony with one another. —  Romans 12:16

Do you know how to sign? You can learn some basic American Sign Language with our original Explore It!, Say It with Your Hands.