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In 2009, I did an internship at the School for the Deaf in Maseno in relation with my studies in Special Education and Cultural Anthropology. More stays in Kenya followed and led to the foundation of the association Kids of Maseno. In the years 2010/11, I did my research at the school in Maseno and finished my final thesis about “Deaf people in Kenya” focusing challenges, problems and chances within the education system. Right now, I am doing the Referendariat in Germany (Special schools) and working at two schools.
I studied Social Anthropology, African Languages and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Mainz and Canterbury. Now I am working as a journalist for television and newspapers. My primary field of duty within the association are all kinds of public relations.
Julia Herz-el Hanbli
I’m anthropologist (ethnology, cultural studies, indian studies) and journalist. My interest and focus during my studies was at the one side the the examination of different philosophies of life and religions, at the other side the examination of different healing systems. For this reason I volunteered in a local organisation in Kenia (October 2008), which supports children, who have the HI-Virus or who became so called „HIV-orphans“.
Every culture has its own understanding of illness and well-being, and ill people have often to fight against different stigma. So have the deaf people in Africa to handle with the stigma, too. Creating an awareness, which makes an equal living of different people, this is my motivation.
In „Kids of Maseno“ I’m working in Public Relations.
I studied Social Anthropology, Cultural Studies and French at the University of Mainz and at the Université libre de Bruxelles. Now I am working on my doctoral dissertation in the areas of gender, education and family in Ghana. Within the association I work in the field of public relations and translate texts for our website.
My first travel to Kenya was during my psychology studies in 2008. I stayed there for 6 weeks and because the country, the culture and the people impressed and fascinated me so much, I decided to work in the AIDS-sector in Kisumu on a voluntary basis the following year. Through the work in the AIDS-sector I got in contact with Deaf Kenyans, who are trained as counselors for the testing and treatment. From this time on I got involved with projects from and for Deaf people in Kenya. This includes visiting the school for the Deaf in Maseno, attending the church of the Deaf and learning some basics of the Kenyan Sign Language. Now, after my stay in Kenya, and after graduation from university, I want to continue working within the development cooperation.
While studying Comparative Linguistics I got interested in German Sign Language (DGS). I attended to some German Sign Language courses in Mainz and my final thesis was about how signed languages work in comparison to spoken ones. By doing all this I’ve came to understand the importance of overcoming the common prejudices often connected to sign languages and deaf people. Sign languages are indeed natural and fully-fledged languages as for example German or English are, and deaf people have a right to have acces to education and learning in their mother tongue.
Dr. Claudia Neumann
I am a dentist and I have been acquainted with Nele for several years. From her, I heard about Kids of Maseno and became aware of the destiny of the deaf an deaf-blind kids in Kenya. Thus, that I have decided to campaign for their integration into society. I manage the finances of the association. Furthermore, my particular concern is to stand up for the health care of the kids, especially the oral hygiene.
I work as a counselor at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. Nele acquainted me with sign language and the problems the deaf community has. She was also the one who encouraged me to take part in Kids of Maseno e.V.. I act as secretary and translate texts for our web page.