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What are the five long-term strategies of DABAL and what do they mean ?

To improve the lifestyle of the deaf and blind children in Sri Lanka

Many deaf and blind children live in the schools in which they are taught. There are many physiological needs and other needs which are below the required level. For example many of the beds they sleep on are hard and sometimes bug-ridden. The social service department of the government gives small amount for their food and the schools are very dependent on local benefactors to feed the children. The food is often not nutritious. There may also be other lifestyle issues of feeling secure and to foster a sense of belonging. It is clear that these aspects are essential in setting the bedrock on which education can be built.

To improve the quality for the education of the Deaf and Blind Children in Sri Lanka.

The quality of education that is being given is often far below what is required. Anne East, who has considerable experience in this field, says that at times the education to deaf students consists of merely copying the text book into an exercise book. How can the education of the deaf and blind children be improved so that it would be fit for purpose?.

To bridge the gap between where education ends and the job requirements begin.

Many deaf and blind children leave their schools and end up begging in the streets as there is a gap between where their education ends and the job requirements begin. Clearly this is not acceptable. Some solutions need to be found.

To attract the estimated 90% of deaf and blind children who do not attend school into proper education.

It is estimated that there are 40,000 deaf or blind children in Sri Lanka but only approximately 4000 of them attend school or have a proper education. There are many reasons for this. One of the main reasons is the concept of 'KARMA' where their situation is attributed to sins of the previous births. Parents are often ashamed to admit that their child is deaf or blind and locks them in a bedroom. There may also be problems relating to the cost of travel etc. How can the 90% of children be attracted into proper education?.

To remove the social stigma of being deaf or blind

At present the deaf and blind people are considered to be "charity cases". Indeed the deaf and blind schools are under the department of social services and not under the department of education. What steps can be taken to change the perceptions of the Sri Lankan society in that deaf and blind people can and should play integral and important roles in society?. It is recognised that this requires a paradigm shift and that this aim will take many years to accomplish
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