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Mali Signs Project

Goal:  The Mali Signs Project aimed to established a self-sustainable video exchange program between select Deaf schools in Mali. The goals of the video exchange are to create awareness for health issues, empower students with leadership opportunities, teach students how to do research, cause students to become ambassadors for specific issues that affect their communities, and broaden their social network.

Outcomes:  Lizzy traveled to Mali in December 2008, where she met with educators at the flagship school in Bamako and traveled with a health instructor to the other Deaf schools in Mali to teach sexual and relationship health.  On her trip through Mali, she met educators in four other schools who are interested in the video exchange program.  CGI U has provided funding to help set-up the program in Mali and both the UT BME department and Sertoma are helping to support travel to Mali this coming summer.

During August 2009, a group of UT for REED members traveled to Mali to deliver the video equipment and supplementary health supplies, host a conference on health topics, and train representatives on the equipment, software, and the YouTube and Blogger accounts set-up for their schools. The schools are now participating in the blog:

Conference Planning and Facilitator Team: (top left) Nouhoun Keita, Bejamin Diarra, Abigail Cheney, Urmi Shanghvi, Kalilou Diop, Danielle Guerra, Boulkassoum Konate, Aicha Diabate, (middle left) Fanta Doumbia, Lizzy Dupont, Balla Keita, (bottom left) Balkissa Maiga, Awa Cissoko

Future:  UT for REED will support the video exchange program through a blog that unites all school representatives and hopes that the representatives themselves will provide assistance and training to each other through the internet.  We hope that as the Mali schools post their health videos to YouTube and distribute DVDs of their videos, international Deaf communities will become involved with the project, facilitating a cultural exchange.