Deaf community calls for more support

Learners and staff from the Noluthando School for the Deaf and the Safer South Africa Foundation held a silent march to raise awareness about the difficulties still experienced by the deaf community.

The deaf community in the province has called for more support for deaf people, claiming that they are still discriminated against on the basis of their disability, especially when they visit some state institutions.

Last Saturday learners from Noluthando School for the Deaf in Site B and the Safer South Africa Foundation held a silent march to raise awareness about these matters.

Those taking part in the silent protest to raise awareness about the plight of the deaf community say they are part of society too.

Safer South Africa Foundation provincial co-ordinator, Nomonde Scott, reiterated that deaf people were also people who have rights in terms of the Constitution.

Ms Scott said when they visit state institutions they are confronted with problems such as the unavailability of sign language interpreters.

“We would be happy if the government could make it compulsory for all state institutions to have sign language interpreters, so when the deaf visit these institutions they can be able to express themselves in a manner that is understandable to everyone,” she said.

Principal Ayanda Ncinane thanked Ms Scott for organising the event, saying it raises their profile in the community.

“People around here took note and started engaging us about the school and how we are doing things,” said Mr Ncinane.

He reiterated the sentiment expressed by Ms Scott about public and private institutions where there is no access to sign language interpreters and how deaf people struggled to communicate as those officials are not trained or even familiar with sign language communication or culture.

“We are striving to make sign language be accessible to ordinary citizens and I hope with events like these we will make deaf people feel included,” he said.

Ina Nxazonke, 17, spoke with Vukani through her teacher who interpreted for her and said she was happy to see people along the road reading their placards.

“They are getting the message that we are also human beings and part of the society,” she said.

For more information about Noluthando School for the Deaf, call 021 361 1160 and log on to www.safersouthafrica.org for more about the Safer South Africa Foundation.