In November in Washington, D.C. our Studio KSL team shared experiences digging into how to improve learning outcomes for deaf children through Kenyan Sign Language at the 12th annual mEducation Alliance Symposium. This year’s Symposium focused on the question: What does Wondrous Learning mean to you?
Here is Studio KSL’s answer:
Wondrous learning is young deaf learners having access to a sign language-rich environment that sets them up for success in education and life. 90-95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents who most often do not know sign language. Hence they don’t have exposure to a natural signed language at home in their critical early years. Deaf children overwhelmingly experience cognitive and language development delays. When young deaf learners are introduced to a sign language-rich environment early on, they develop the language and cognitive skills that set them on a path to literacy and learning success!
In DC,Studio KSL colleagues Director Georgine Auma, Anna Martin and Susan Thuo participated in a panel discussion on Early Childhood Education for deaf learners. They shared their latest innovation in multiple means of engagement, action and expression: the KSL Alphabet Dance we’ve been working on with our friends at ChezaCheza Dance Foundation.
Meanwhile, in October two colleagues attended the Frankfurt Book Fair 2022 in Germany together with other African publishers, authors, and leaders—among them Lawrence Njagi, Managing Director of Mountain Top Publishers, Kenya; Bushiratu Alira Kumuriwor, Co-Founder of Learners Girls Foundation, Ghana; and Chirikure Chirikure, author and poet, from Zimbabwe.
There we participated in a panel discussion, Spotlight on Africa, on inclusive publishing on the continent hosted by International Publishers Association President Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi. Notably, the debate was opened by Carsten Wilms, division head of cultural relations from the German Federal Foreign Office. Wilms is a thoughtful and perspicacious person who began his remarks by quoting a short exchange between two of the protagonists in Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah’s novel Afterlives set on the coast of East Africa. One says to another: “The Germans are honorable and civilized people, and have done much good since they have been here.” The other says: “My friend, they have eaten you.”
Thank you to Bodour Al Qasimi, her colleague Ben Steward and their many collaborators in the African Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF), and for bringing together African publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2022. We look forward to growing and deepening the network that Bodour and APIF have brought to life.