Texas Tech Education Team Travels to Uganda
October 15, 2009
By: Leslie Cranford
Educators and students aim to assess educational opportunities and empower women.
A team of eight educators and students from Texas Tech University’s Virginia Murray
Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Impairment will make a nearly
two-week trek to the African country of Uganda, Oct. 20-31. The Sowell Center is housed
in the College of Education.
The motivation for the trip is twofold, said Amy Parker, research assistant professor
in the center, and project leader.
One purpose builds upon a series of training and research activities in the United
States with young adults who are deaf-blind, Parker said. To that end, the team will
attend the Helen Keller World Conference in Kampala, part of the effort to train young
adults with disabilities to be leaders both in the U.S. and internationally.
“There will be 15 countries represented at the conference,” Parker said. “The themes
of the conference focus on education and empowerment of people around the world who
Parker explained that in many countries, people with disabilities still have no rights,
and that sometimes they are seen as second or third class citizens. She said if a
child is born a female with disabilities, then the child may or may not be seen as
a valuable human being.
“Just because someone is female, or has a disability – or both – doesn’t mean they
don’t have a need for education or technology or health care,” Parker said.
The second purpose of the trip is to visit two schools in Uganda to develop strategic
plans around personnel preparation for teachers and students and to assess IT infrastructures
for potential distance education coursework.
The team will visit the Uganda School for the Deaf in Ntinda
, the first school for the deaf in Uganda. There are several deafblind students there,
After the conference, part of the team will travel to northern Uganda to visit ChildVoice International
, a school for child victims of war. Parker said some of the students were child soldiers,
others were raped and abused, and some became mothers while still children themselves.
ChildVoice provides education, training, counseling and a home for those who cannot
return to their former homes. The team members who visit the school will evaluate
the potential for a partnership that would provide teacher preparation and high school
The team has a blog
on which they will post photos, videos and other highlights of the trip. The group
even has its own theme song, “Adventure of Friends,”
written by composer Crystal Morales, who happens to be deafblind.
CONTACT: Amy Parker, research assistant professor, College of Education
, (806) 742-1997 ext. 248, or firstname.lastname@example.org.