The Deaf Unit in Cairo, part of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt, has faced setbacks because of Covid-19 but has continued to serve their community throughout the past year.
The Diocese of Egypt's Deaf Unit in Cairo, part of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Alexandria, has continued to serve their community throughout the past year despite setbacks caused by Covid-19. The Deaf Unit's efforts have been picked up by the Voice of America media organisation, which showcased their work in a recent report.
The Deaf Unit's goal is to improve the quality of life for deaf and hard of hearing children, youth and families through education, vocational training, community awareness programs and spiritual guidance to give them a chance for employment, financial independence and successful integration into society in Egypt.
The Unit includes a school and boarding house, training, an audiology clinic, a vocational training centre and a deaf club. During 2020, the school was forced to close the boarding section because of Covid-19.
Speaking to Voice of America, the Archbishop of Alexandria and Bishop of Egypt, Mouneer Anis, said: "we used to provide the accommodation for these children who come from far away and who cannot afford transportation every day. But now, because of the pandemic, we are not able to bring them close to each other because this increases the risk of being infected with the virus."
Despite these challenges, the school remains open to prepare young students for the world. They will learn the basic skills they will need to communicate with other people, overcome prejudice in society, and contribute to their communities.
Many of Egypt's five million deaf people come from poor and rural areas, where parents are unable to speak to their deaf children. Speaking to Voice of America, Claire Malik, the founder of the Deaf Unit, said: "we teach the parents how to use sign language, and that's good and enables the parents to communicate with their children."
The Deaf Unit has also been able to make useful online educational and awareness videos shared via WhatsApp for children and parents to use when they are unable to get to school. During Covid-19, the school has also provided food parcels for those students and families who are in need of extra support.