Malawi National Association of Deaf (Manad) has made a fresh demand for sign language interpreters to facilitate easy access to information and telecommunication services for the country’s 50 000 hearing-impaired people.
Manad information and advocacy officer Gabriel Luzu said in an interview that since the organisation conducted a sensitisation workshop on the need for sign language interpreters, no institution has employed one despite committing to do so.
He said: Apart from existing Malawi Broadcasting Corporation which has interpreters during news programmes and St. Pius Catholic Church, no company that attended the workshop has acted in our plea.
“We are striving for a society in which the deaf enjoy equal opportunities in as far as communication and customer service is concerned, but up to now we feel left out and missing out on important information that every citizen ought to have.”
In September last year, Manad conducted a sensitisation workshop for communication stakeholders on the need for telecommunication companies to have sign language interpreters in their respective institutions.
Luzu said Manad would continue urging various stakeholders to have interpreters in strategic institutions such as Immigration, commercial banks and airports.
He emphasised the need for every child to learn sign language and the promotion of the use of sign languages in the country, particularly on television to enable every Malawian to access important messages.
Mibawa Television chief executive officer John Nthakomwa, who attended the workshop, said his institution was in the process of employing a sign language interpreter.
He said: “We are working tirelessly to comply with Manad’s request. Right now, we are soliciting funds to employ interpreter.”
Manad has since embarked in a project to produce a sign language dictionary to enable people have sign language knowledge.