Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Online Reporter
GWANDA based organisation for people living with disabilities Nkomwa Foundation Trust in partnership with Sunrise Sign Language Academy and Alaso Academy is conducting a sign language training workshop for stakeholders in the district in order to improve knowledge of sign language.
The programme is expected to extend to other districts in the province.
The Trust held the first one-week long training in January in conjunction with Alaso Academy. They are now conducting the second phase of the training. The training is targeting the hearing impaired, teachers, traditional leaders, councillors, community members, health professionals, business community and police.
In an interview, Nkomwa Foundation Trust director, Mr Pick Nkomwa said they wanted to hold frequent training on sign language so that all communities and stakeholders could be reached.
“We are holding a disability sensitisation workshop and sign language training in order to capacitate the Gwanda community on sign language. The training started in January where we held a week-long workshop in partnership with Alaso Academy. The current workshop dubbed “Leaving no-one behind” started on 18 April and ends on 22 April. We are holding it in partnership with Sunrise Sign Language Academy and Alaso Academy,” he said.
Mr Nkomwa added: “The workshop is targeting government departments, community health workers, business community, traditional leaders, councillors, other NGOs and Gwanda community in general as well as people with disabilities among others.”
He said the main aim of the workshop is to equip the Gwanda community with sign language skills and raise disability awareness with the main thrust of creating a community that is inclusive and accommodative of everyone as well as bridging the communication gap thereby “leaving no one behind”.
Mr Nkomwa said the participants are being trained by the professional sign language trainers. He said participants are being fully capacitated and by the end of the workshop they will be able to bridge the communication gap between the deaf and hard of hearing and the hearing in Gwanda.
“Participants will be further capacitated on basic communication skills on health matters, religious, educational, legal and other professional vocabulary as well as disability awareness and general vocabulary. We want to extend this workshop to other districts in the province,” Mr Nkomwa said.
He said training of people in sign language was key in addressing challenges faced by the hearing impaired. Mr Nkomwa said people with speech impairment and hearing impairment face challenges which include limited access to information.