Malawi Council for Handicapped teach sign language relatives of the deaf

In a bid to address communication problems between the deaf who learnt sign language at school and their parents or relatives, Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA), through Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Project in Mzimba, has started sign language training sessions for parents and relatives of such children.

One of the family members Left trying to get sense from  a brother who has some hearing impairment-Pic by Henry Nkhata

One of the family members Left trying to get sense from a brother who has some hearing impairment-Pic by Henry Nkhata

CBR Project Officer in Mzimba, Jackson Chimowa, said his office started organizing such training sessions recently.

“We target parents, relatives or guardians of deaf children who learnt sign language at school such as Embangweni. We want them to start understanding each other,” Chimowa told Mana in an interview.

The CBR Project Officer said apart from understanding each other at household level, those who undergo such training sessions will also act as interpreters wherever they go with such children.

Chimowa said for example, such children would start enjoying church services because they are accompanied by parents or relatives who understand the language they acquired at school and are capable of interpreting what was happening at church.

In her remarks, Shalom Ndovi said she was one of those who attended the first sign language training organized by CBR last year.

She said since that time, communication between her brother Philip Ndovi who is deaf, has greatly improved.

Shalom said she understands her brother better than her father and mother. She is the only one who attended the sign language training session from that family.

“For example at church, Philip sits close to me so that I explain what is happening there for him to enjoy the church service like anybody else,” she said.

She however said the current three day training session was not enough for one to master sign language alphabet among others.

Philip Ndovi said sign language was the only language of the deaf, hence the need for parents, relatives, guardians and even service providers to learn the language.

“Such training sessions should continue for the benefit of the deaf,” he said.

There were 28 participants during the sign language training session at Mzimba boma.    Commenting on the duration, Chimowa said his office would look into the matter.

He also said his office would organize another training session for parents, relatives or guardians of deaf children in Mzuzu and Mzimba north.

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