The Foundation is named 'Woodford' in recognition of Doreen Woodford's (a previous President of BATOD) substantial, long term contribution and initiative, supporting development of provision in income poor countries for children and young people who are deaf. The title was chosen by the three other Woodford Foundation Trustees: Rodney Clark (Chairman; retired Chief Executive, SENSE and SENSE International; and Management Consultant), Crispin Lewis (Trustee; retired Headteacher, Northern Counties School (for Deaf); Special Education Consultant) and David Bond (Honorary Secretary and Treasurer; retired Director/Principal The Royal School for Deaf Children Margate and Westgate College for Deaf People; Consultant Specialist Educational Psychologist and Audiologist; ex BATOD National Exec Member) .
The Trustees believe that all work should be carried out objectively and without prejudice of service approach, methodology, race, culture, gender, religious or other belief. They aim to work in cooperation with other bodies to build on local and regional skills and expertise wherever possible by establishing training and other links with neighbouring Regions and Countries. Long term partnerships will be established with the intention of supporting development of provision which can be managed and sustained by the indigenous professionals, parents and people who are deaf , including those who have other sensory or communication needs.
To date the Trustees have funded their own costs (with some help from money paid from the Inland Revenue Gift Aid tax payments), with the aim that donated funds should be used to support projects. Following Rodney, Doreen and David's visit to Tanzania and Malawi in November - December 2004, the Trustees have agreed to support the following two projects in Africa:
HIV/AIDS is contributing to very low life expectancy. Sex education in school and in vocational training facilities is desperately needed as well as practical training and preparation for work. UWAVIKA has obtained some land and we will be helping them to develop this as a Vocational Training Centre and to extend vocational training in association with other partners currently working in Tanzania.
Doreen Woodford is the Trust's coordinator for the Tanzania UWAVIKA project. An article describing the project appeared in the BATOD Magazine, September 2002.
But there is hope: the parents and the staff in the four Malawian schools for the deaf, are really keen to make advances in the provision for their children and pupils. They are enthusiastic about opportunity to develop and to improve their skills. They want to see a broadening of the range of education and in opportunities for vocational education. They want opportunity for appropriate inclusion of pupils in mainstream schools. Montfort College trains 30 qualified and experienced teachers as Teachers for the Deaf each year. Another 30 are trained as Teachers for the Blind/VI and another 30 as Teachers for Learning Disabilities.
The Government has very recently recognised Malawian Sign Language and it will be included in the Schools for Deaf. Development of this needs support, as do the Malawian initiatives to develop unit classes and resource facilities in main stream schools for those deaf children who are struggling in the main stream and for those who are unable to access education. Inclusion of the deaf children who are not able to access education is one of the dreams of Malawian parents and educators and they have highlighted this in a recent survey. Deafblind and MSI Education is in its infancy but has been started by the Malawians and needs support. Vocational training and opportunity for young people who are deaf is minimal, with initiatives developing from the schools for deaf which need support. Continuing Professional Development for educational and medical professionals; parent groups and MANAD, the Malawian Association for Adult Deaf, would all benefit from improved access to literature, better communication systems and links with the wider world.
David Bond is the Woodford Foundation's coordinator for Malawi and will be making a return visit there in May to assist the development of a Malawian strategic plan with their priorities for the future. This will be a long term project!
The Woodford Foundation is investigating possible projects in SE Asia. We will keep readers up to date with reports in the future.
To contact The Woodford Foundation (Charity Number 1105958) : David Bond, Hon Secretary and Treasurer, 'Taygrove', 446 Perth Road, Dundee, DD2 1JT
|Download Woodford Foundation BATOD Magazine article May 2005