Al-Waagah is currently run from a modest three-bedroom house in the neighbourhood of Athlone in the Western Cape.
From our office, Al-Waagah assists the Deaf with:
- legal services
- applying for social grants
- support for individuals from other African countries
- poverty alleviation interventions
- social support services for Deaf individuals
- parent support
Sign Language Classes
- Relay Interpreting classes
- Sign Language classes
- sewing team comprising of Deaf persons only who produce various garments for sale.
- Ironing service
- Garment alteration services
- Initially there were 10 registered students attending Madrassah. Currently we have 68 students of all ages. The eldest student is 85 years young
Donations to our projects are welcomed on various levels:
- Once-off donations from multiple donors that cumulatively help us reach our funding goal
- Regular monthly donations
- Larger donations that allow for a donor to take up naming
- Opportunities on a classroom, hall, or housinunit within the facility.
- All inclusive school
- Relay Interpreter Courses
- Basic Sign Language Courses
- Religious studies (Madrassa)
- Skills development
- Parent Support
- Poverty alleviation
- Youth development
Every Deaf person is to be empowered, has the opportunity to integrate into society and achieve their fullest potential and participate in and contribute to all aspects of life.
Al-Waagah works to advocate on behalf of the Deaf to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening and integration of communities thereby eliminating barriers to opportunity, and supporting the Deaf and to reach their full potential and purpose in life
Al-Waagah has nurtured the idea of establishing a school that would cater not only for the education needs of Deaf learners but also for their social and personal wellbeing. The idea of an all-inclusive school is that the Deaf are no longer marginalized or only confined to special schools. An all-inclusive school would admit both hearing and Deaf learners, with the aim of empowering more people to communicate in sign language and to mainstreaming the Deaf community. In this regard, the school is a “game-changer” in reimagining basic education systems and the future of holistic, inclusive learning.
South Africa’s Deaf community currently stands at four million people and counts for approximately 6% of the country’s population. While many advances have been made in terms of recognizing the rights of Deaf people, much of these changes have only reached the level of policy development with poor implementation. As a result, many Deaf people continue to live in isolated worlds and their struggles are silenced due to the lack of resources available to meet their needs. This is especially pronounced in impoverished neighbourhoods where basic needs such as schooling for the Deaf is largely compromised.
This is the context out of which Al-Waagah Institute for the Deaf was established in 1995. Initially focused on religious education, we found that beneficiaries benefitted from the opportunity to interact with each other in sign language, which is not understood by many people within their home environments. Apart from their need for more meaningful social interaction, Al-Waagah also assists with legal services, applying for social grants, support for individuals from other African countries, and poverty alleviation interventions.