The Woodford Foundation was established by four of the six trustees, who have retired from full-time employment as senior leaders of major organisations for the sensory impaired in the UK. With a combined professional working experience of over 200 years, and in their own time over the past 25 years, some of the Trustees have worked with colleagues in income poor countries to support developments in educational, medical and family services and provision for deaf, deafblind and multi-sensory impaired children and young adults. In semi-retirement, the trustees are now able to commit more time to this work.
Malawian colleagues from education; education of the deaf; teacher training; the adult deaf; parents of deaf children ad young people; church leaders; administrators; and Education Department officials have highlighted 10 areas for development. These areas include:
– Improvement of communication access to Internet;
– Malawian Sign Language;
– Inclusive education for over 6,000 deaf children who are not receiving education; and to prepare for support for the many thousands of hearing impaired children for whom there is no educational support or provision;
– Vocational training;
– Further development and extension of specialist teacher training; and development of training for other professionals who work with children and young adults who are deaf
– Teaching and learning for deafblind;
– Ear, nose and throat medical provision and audiology hearing aid provision and support;
– Training and exchange links with other African countries via conferences and publications – a Special Education Journal etc;
– Improvement of teaching and learning resources, including accommodation;
– Training and capacity building in strategic planning and organisation.
The Woodford Foundation intends to work with Malawian colleagues, and with other voluntary groups and organisations to support development in at least some of the above areas. The Foundation will be starting with support for small programmes for development, for inclusion and vocational training, to address the non-availability of education and training for the majority of Malawis children and young adults who are deaf.