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May 2024 News Wrap

A group of people sign to the camera at the launch of the South Sudan Sign Language Training Centre.
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Find out more about our work, successes and impact in May 2024.   

South Sudan’s first Sign Language Training Centre 

We helped launch South Sudan’s first Sign Language Training Centre in partnership with the South Sudan National Association of the Deaf and Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation

The centre will train public servants, including teachers, police officers, judges and members of parliament in South Sudanese sign language.  

The launch was covered by media including The Tower Post and Voice of America, which interviewed Esther Piro, a Disability Inclusion Facilitator.  

Jane stars at SPECS launch 

Screenshot of Jane Waithera, during a virtual presentation at the launch of the WHO's SPECS 2030 initiative.
Jane shared her expertise with an audience of experts and policy makers. © Light for the World

Jane Waithera, our Head of the Disability Inclusion Advisory Unit in Kenya, shared her lived experience at the launch of the World Health Organization’s SPECS 2030 initiative

The campaign aims to increase access to affordable eyeglasses, addressing uncorrected refractive error — the leading cause of vision impairment. 

Jane (pictured above) spoke about the “life-changing moment” she was told she needed glasses. 

Dr Geoffrey Wabulembo, Medical Director, Eye Health and NTDs, also represented Light for the World at the event. 

Spotlight on digital accessibility 

One billion people required assistive technology in 2021. Twice as many are expected to need it by 2050.  

Digital accessibility for a disability-inclusive future was the theme of the Inclusive Africa Conference 2024, attended by several Light for the World colleagues. 

Ambrose Murangira (pictured below), our Thematic Director for Disability Inclusion, featured on a panel about communication strategies for Deaf and hard of hearing people.  

Ambrose Murangira, Thematic Director for Disability Inclusion at Light for the World, taking part in a panel at the Inclusive Africa Conference 2024.
Ambrose at the Inclusive Africa Conference 2024. © Peter Ojik

Lasting impact of ACROSS 

The ACROSS project has ended in Ethiopia having made systematic strides in disability inclusion services. 

Leading a consortium with CARE Austria, the Austrian Red Cross, HEFDA, ECDD and the Ethiopian Red Cross, Light for the World helped to ensure people with disabilities and women and girls are not left behind in crises. We enhanced resilience and self-reliance among institutions, communities and vulnerable individuals in response to COVID-19 – including providing opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, particularly for women and girls, and young people with disabilities. 

Funded by the Austrian Development Agency, the three-year project also saw the launch of the first Disability Inclusion Academy in Ethiopia to train Disability Inclusion Facilitators. 

The ACROSS project saw significant strides in disability inclusion services. © Red Cross

IDDC celebrates 30th anniversary 

Light for the World colleagues Elie Bagbila, Sarah Hull, Annick Bambara and Anneke Maarse participated in the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) General Assembly. The IDDC celebrated 30 years as a vibrant network and elected Mary Keogh as the new IDDC Chair.   

During the assembly, from 15-17 May, best practices on disability inclusive economic empowerment were highlighted, including from the Inclusive Futures and our SPARK programmes.   

In case you missed it… 

  • Congratulations to Sophia Mohammed, Country Director for South Sudan, and Aynalem Tefera, Country Director for Ethiopia, on being nominated Voices of a New Era of Leaders under the Leadership Redefined movement by Female Factor Global. 
  • BBC Focus on Africa reported on Light for the World’s work to make refugee camps disability inclusive in South Sudan. Another BBC programme, The Happy Pod, broadcast a piece on South Sudan’s Blind Football League, which is supported by Light for the World.  
  • UNESCO published an article about our joint project equipping teachers in Burkina Faso with digital skills to support inclusive education for pupils with disabilities. 
  • Silvester Kasozi, Country Director at Light for the World Uganda, spoke to the Forerunners Network podcast about our work in disability inclusion. 
  • At the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, Hannan Endale Tabor, Programme Manager at Light for the World, called on governments to consider the needs of people with disabilities.   
  • We are delighted to welcome Anne Marie Leenen to Light for the World as International Director of Finance & Operations. Anne Marie has more than 30 years’ experience in private sector roles and on non-profit initiatives. She replaces Daniel Friess, who leaves us after almost five years. All the best for the future, Daniel, and welcome, Anne Marie! 
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