AL-Waagah started its humble beginnings back in 1995 focusing on the Islamic teachings of the Deaf within the greater cape metropole. Originally known as the Oasis for the Deaf. For the past 27 years AL-Waagah has achieved numerous milestones – from its humble beginnings at St Athans Mosque, to operating from a house to its greatest achievement to date, our new home. AL-Waagah has played a pivotal role to fill the gaps that are left in the development and support needed to help Deaf individuals overcome barriers to achieving their full potential. While there are approximately 43 schools across the country for Deaf and hard of hearing learners, few have the capacity to provide comprehensive support especially in impoverished neighbourhoods.
The AL-Waagah Institute for the Deaf is therefore a home and a family for those who have fallen through the gaps of policy implementation for Deaf people. Irrespective of religion, the Institute welcomes people from all backgrounds and nationalities to benefit from a variety of support services offered. 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.
Being an education institute, essentially, 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.