Association of the Deaf calls for promotion of sign language

Malawi National Association of the Deaf (MANAD) an umbrella organisation responsible for safeguarding the welfare  of  people with hearing impairments in the country has blamed  government for not showing interest in promoting sign language.

Manad says there is lack of government commitment in promoting sign language

Speaking during an interview, MANAD executive director Brighton Chimemya said currently Malawi has not yet recognised sign language as a language on its own, a development he said  has made it difficult for  people with hearing challenges  in the country to access vital information.

Chimemya’s remarks comes as the international community  was commemorating  the international sign language day which fall  on September 23 September this weak  to mark the beginning of the commemoration of International Deaf week which run  from September 22 and ends on  28 September.

Ironically, the Commemoration in the country has been shifted to October 7 to 12 with the main celebratory function being slated for October 11, a development which has worried MANAD, saying it signifies government’s lack of commitment in promoting sign language.

Government has not yet disclosed the reason for the postponement but Chimemya said that his association was  advised to call off the celebrations  until the return of the Minister of Gender, children, Disability and Social Welfare, Gertrude Navitcha who has been  attending The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in the United States of America (USA).

Chimemya explained further that the fact  that only the state broadcaster (MBC TV) has an interpreter on its news coverage unlike privately owned television stations further demonstrates lack of government commitment in promoting sign language .

He called upon the Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) to come up with specific regulations aimed at enforcing private Television Stations to have sign language  interpreters not only during news cast but also in their programming.

Chimemya continued by saying that despite government promising to train over 100 sign language interpreters,government has not fulfilled it’s pledge three years down the line.

He added that he would like sign language to be used in the country’s judiciary during court proceedings for people with hearing difficulties to easily follow. He also urged government to send adequate sign language interpreters in the country’s schools.

UNGA) proclaimed September 23 as the International Day of Sign Language in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language.

This year the International Day for Sign Language is being  observed under the theme: ‘Sign Language, Rights for All’, and the main celebratory activity in the country is slated on October 11 at Kaliyeka School ground in Lilongwe.

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