The KCCD stands for Kamuli Christian Center for the Deaf. It is located at the Kamuli Baptist Church premises. KCCD provides a wholesome educational program based on Christian worldview and love. The government education curriculum is given and attendance and participation in church programs are encouraged. The school also provides Bibles studies and worship every day. Christian staff runs the school.
KCCD was started in the year 2016 with a few students. This was prompted by the need that was seen in Kamuli. First, the school was located in a place called Kiyunga, about 25 kilometers south of Kamuli town. This was blended with an elementary school, Kiyunga Care Primary School, which had started ten years earlier. Problems of distance and a difficult partnership led the church to relocate the school back to Kamuli town after being granted space on the church land. KCCD uses the church building and has, with the help from Mission Link International, constructed a temporary building for classroom space. There are five classes in total, primary one to primary five.
Some deaf children had been stranded without education for a long time and had no one to teach them sign language. Two of them, a girl and boy, had studied in a school that closed its deaf unit. They were in primary seven and had nowhere to do their primary leaving examinations from. KCCD came as a solution to this need and also had a task of introducing deaf children to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In addition, KCCD counsels the children to know they are human beings, made in God’s image and capable of growing into responsible adults in order to contribute to the society by being given an education as all other children do. The parents are also reminded to take on their God-given responsibility of godly parenthood and accepting these children as gifts.
The church took the task upon itself to begin a school for these stranded children. Besides these two, there were more children and teenagers who needed to be blended into society and school so as to receive an education for a brighter future. An initial survey revealed the presence of many deaf children in the immediate community. An effort was made to register all the deaf people within the vicinity regardless of age, sex, and marital status.
After a few days of visiting homes the registration exercise put the number to more than one hundred individuals. The local government councils in other villages and sub counties within the district were contacted and many more deaf people were soon calling on the doors of KCCD from all these places. Most deaf children come to school without smiles on their faces. Child neglect coupled with lack of proper communication is seen from their facial appearance and sometimes the deaf children are initially destructive because no one understands them and they, in turn, do not understand anyone else. They do not seem to sense any kind of love from people.
The church discovered that the majority of these deaf people, and especially the children, were abandoned, neglected, or rejected. The parents either were going through a process of denial as to their parenthood of these children. The fathers were the biggest offenders. Many of these children stay with grandparents as a result. For this reason the deaf children faced discrimination in the reception of support from their parents. The hearing and speaking children were given priority to the neglect of the deaf ones. This discrimination runs through all aspects of their lives: fees, clothing, shelter, medical care, attention and other areas. Deaf children come to school without much clothing, without shoes, mattresses, beds, blankets, bed sheets, mosquito nets, books, pens and pencils and with various ailments. Some parents do not even want to be told their children are sick, and the school is expected to take care of every aspect of these children. The school is forced to provide even uniform for the children. This is slow in coming owing to the financial constraint.
Some parents put the deaf children into schools together with the hearing children. The problem with this model was that communication between the children and the rest of the school community was non-existent. The teachers in these schools could not pass on knowledge to the deaf children. Besides, there was no proper communication even from the other members of the school community. Therefore, learning was impaired.
Kamuli Baptist Church took up the challenge since there was a teacher of sign language in the church. Elizabeth Babirye Musira was more than willing to help put the missing component in the equation. There was need for a school with sign language to help overcome the problem of communication with the deaf children. The solution involved teaching sign language to all the deaf children, their parents, and some willing members of the society where these children come from.
This solution demanded teachers of sign language, and finances to effect the proposed actions. Obviously the parents were reluctant to pay for this. The little resources the church had were to be apportioned to a few selected deaf people. The major criterion for choosing who to help was age. The young ones, children four (4) years to thirteen (13) were selected to begin a school. The number has been growing from less than twenty up to the present number of forty children in the school. Those above thirteen years were left out of the program. This is the number that can be kept in school according to the financial resources available.
The school hired five teachers and three non teaching staff to help with the task of educating the deaf children. Sign language was a must learn even for the non teaching staff. Now the every child who comes on board will learn the language very fast and be enabled to communicate with other deaf children without much problem. The program to the parents and the rest of society is still hampered by financial resources.
Initially the church did not have the resources to carry out this responsibility of running the school until God brought a long time friend, Dr Sadler of the Mission Link International who helped start raising finances for its running. The parental contribution is still very low and this money given through MLI contributes to over ninety five percent of all the running costs. The school is now able to pay the teachers and other staff a minimal salary.
The KCCD has a board of three members: Pastor Herbert Kabuluku as the chairman, Mrs Elizabeth Babirye Musira as the managing director, and Mr Simon Kabbale as the recording secretary. These often sit and draw up policies and organize the way the school is to be run. On the ground the school has a permanent resident administrator, Jennifer Namugabo. Of recent some deaf teachers have come on board and these understand the children better.