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A New Challenge

Chrissy Matumba Becomes the First DeafBlind Student at Prestigious Malawian Secondary School

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Of the nearly 400 DeafBlind people living in Malawi, 250 are school-aged children, according to a survey by the Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association and the Malawi Council for the Handicapped. These children are falling behind in education, as schools often lack the resources to provide learning accommodations for DeafBlind students. “There was a lack of assisted devices, fellow students dejected me when I sought help, and also a scarcity of teaching and learning materials,” says Chrissy Matumba, who recently became the first DeafBlind student admitted to Blantyre Secondary School, a prestigious public high school in Blantyre, Malawi. Duster Lucius, a 2022 DJP fellow who is DeafBlind, sits down with Matumba and Ernest Sokasoka, head of the special needs department at Blantyre Secondary, to discuss challenges facing DeafBlind students in schools.

Editing assistance by Desmond LaFave

Photo of Duster Lucius.

Filmmaker: Duster Lucius

Duster Lucius is a 19-year-old disability youth activist who is DeafBlind (partial hearing, completely blind). Malawian by nationality and Yao by tribe, he is a national youth coordinator at the Visual Hearing Impairment Membership Association (VIHEMA), an organization advocating for the rights and needs of persons who are DeafBlind in Malawi. At VIHEMA, Lucius advocates for the inclusion of youth who are DeafBlind in all the Malawian government's strategic development activities. Aside from his advocacy work, he currently studies at St. Patrick's National Secondary School in Mzedi.

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