News9th November 2013

Africa and UK focussed deafness charities join forces

Signal is a new Shropshire Based Charity - read about their important work here!

by Sarah Lawrence

Two Shropshire based charities have joined forces to create a new champion for deaf rights in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK. The Woodford Foundation, which has projects in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, and the Shropshire Deafness Association have come together to form the charity Signal.

The formation of the new charity falls out of the strategic decision to consolidate activities, saving costs and sharing experience, as well as the ambition to combine solidarity with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people at home and overseas. Signal aims to build on its predecessors’ achievements and develop new projects to tackle the barriers to social, economic and political independence that people with hearing loss encounter.

The Woodford Foundation which was founded in 2004 by the respected deaf rights advocate, the late Doreen Woodford and friends has carried out life-changing projects. In Malawi, for example, it has helped to train over 10,000 people about deaf awareness and communication. In sub-Saharan Africa deafness can be associated with witchcraft and deaf people may be believed to be cursed and so kept hidden, so the deaf awarness sessions are particularly important.

Sadly, Doreen passed away in 2011, but she had expressed a wish for the Foundation’s name to be changed after her death. The Shropshire Deafness Association traces its origins back to a Christian organisation founded in 1856. More recently, the Association has been busy carrying out outreach work throughout Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

Across Shropshire, over 100 people with a professional or personal interest in deafness, joined Signal’s staff and volunteers to celebrate the charity’s formal creation at Shrewsbury Town Football Club in October. Watched over by hearing dogs Nevis and Tara, the guests enjoyed the opportunity to sign along with Chester-based Dee Sign Choir, who perform in British Sign Language to popular tunes.


About Signal

Signal works to help deaf people and those with Hearing Loss in the UK and abroad. If we talk openly about Hearing Loss we can raise awareness and break down the barriers often faced by deaf people. Giving people the power to change their own lives is the key to what we do. We work together with other organisations and charities to get the best possible results. Most importantly we involve people with Hearing Loss throughout our work to give them a big say in changing their own lives.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / News

9th November 2013