Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Planning for action

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Deaf > Chapter 14: Support for parents and caregivers > Planning for action


Parents working together can take action to solve many problems. Here are some useful steps for taking action:

  1. Choose a problem that most people in the group feel is important. Although many changes are probably needed, your group may be more effective if it works on one problem at a time. At first, pick a problem that your group has a good chance of solving quickly. Then, as the group learns how to work together, you can work on more complicated problems.
  2. 2 men and 3 women sitting together; 2 women and one man are speaking.
    My mother cares for my son now, but her health is getting worse.
    I have a new job in the city. I can't find anyone who wants to take care of a deaf child.
    I need someone to look after my child on market days.
  3. Decide how you want to solve the problem. List many ways the problem could be solved and then pick the one that best uses your group's strengths and resources.
  4. 2 men and 3 women sitting together; 2 women and one man are speaking.
    We could hire someone to take care of our children. Maybe we can find a person who knows sign language.
    We could take turns. Each family could care for all the children one day a week.
    Arti is looking for work.
  5. Make a plan. Members of the group will need to do different things to get the job done. Try to set a date when each task should be finished.
  6. 2 men and 3 women sitting together; 2 women and one man are speaking.
    Guddi, you are part of the deaf community. Can you see if there is someone who is looking for work who knows sign language?
    I'll find out how much we would need to pay someone.
    I'll ask Arti if she would want to learn some signs from me.
  7. When you meet together, talk about how the work is going. Adjust your plan as needed if
    difficulties arise.
  8. 2 men and 3 women sitting together; 2 women and one man are speaking.
    Have we found anyone who knows sign language?
    No, not yet. Not many people know sign language.
    But Arti is eager to learn sign and to care for our children.


A group with few resources can still make a difference!

We believe the whole community — neighborhood, village, city, or nation — is responsible for supporting families with children who have disabilities. But sometimes it takes parents working together to make the larger community take that responsibility. As the following story about a group of determined parents in South Africa shows, when people cooperate and put their resources together, they can overcome obstacles and make something where there was nothing!

Building resources — the power of determination

In a city in South Africa, children with learning disabilities rarely played with other children or attended school. Many parents could not work outside the home because the local day care centers did not want to include their children. The centers told the parents who approached them, "You cannot tell us what to do!" and "We have no facilities for teaching these children."

A group of parents — all unemployed mothers, many with little or no formal education — got together and decided they must do something for these children and their families. They decided that 1 or 2 of them would look after all the children so that the others would be free to look for work.

A woman speaking.
We had no funding, no special resources. We agreed that parents would send something with their children — half a cabbage, a carrot, or a potato — whatever we could manage.
With these ingredients, those of us who were caring for the children would cook soup.



The mothers organized a schedule for caring for the children. One of them volunteered to cook. One became a teacher. Others looked for work that they could do at home. Parents who managed to find work began to contribute a little to those who cared for the children and to the growing day care center. One parent who worked began to buy books for the children.

A social worker heard about the group and came to see what they were doing. She was able to get the local government to give some money to pay the mothers who took care of the children.

With the only resource the mothers had — determination — they were able to establish a day care center for their children, and they were also able to earn a living!


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