eDeaf – Employing & Empowering Deaf South Africans

31 Jan
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The MICT SETA in partnership with eDeaf, has pioneered a way forward for digital access and literacy for the Deaf community of South Africa.

The pilot project, fully funded by the MICT SETA, launched in 2014, with an initial intake of 50 learners.

The importance of receiving training in one’s own language was paramount.   eDeaf subsequently recruited a passionate, computer literate Deaf facilitator, fluent in South African Sign Language, to guide the learners and provide valuable feedback based on a Deaf learning environment.  

Not surprisingly, the End User Computing project was a massive success!  The IT environment lends itself perfectly to Deaf learners, as it is visual and requires good attention to detail.  News of the project soon spread through the Deaf community and it wasn’t long before the demand grew to such an extent that Phase Two saw the opening of two additional classrooms, one of which was in Centurion.  

The confidence of the Deaf learners was evident;  proof of which was garnered by great results from their assessments. Learners soon expressed their desire to progress with their newfound knowledge, and it was then that eDeaf decided to also offer the Technical Support qualification (NQF04).

MICT SETA were once again willing to fully fund this unique project.  eDeaf were able to source the ideal facilitator who was not only a qualified assessor, but had an IT technical background.

As momentum grew, the training was then rolled out in Durban and Cape Town.

During the project, the Deaf learners were also able to harness invaluable skills to bridge the gap into the labour market through the MICT SETA accredited training provider as well as the two Microsoft houses involvement.  The relationship was mutually beneficial as the partners gained  new perspective into the lives of the Deaf learners and successfully changed some stereotypes and reservations.

At the end of 2017, over 300 Deaf learners graduated nationally.  Learners proudly donned their caps and gowns for emotional ceremonies which took place across South Africa.   Hands waived furiously in the air (a visual form of clapping) as eDeaf facilitators and staff, learners, the MICT SETA and partners, all celebrated the triumph

eDeaf applied for their own accreditation in 2016 and are in the process of obtaining accreditation in Systems Development NQF04 and Technical Support NQF05.  

This year, eDeaf will be opening a dedicated IT Support Centre, where learners enrolled on the technical support programme can gain additional work experience, under the guidance of a Deaf Manager.

The MICT SETA have been instrumental in funding a worthy project to improve the chances of Deaf people finding gainful employment with the same qualifications as their hearing peers.

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