Persons with hearing impairment held a deaf awareness campaign among Kiambu residents.
The campaign organized by Challenging the Challenge Initiative wanted the community to know that the deaf people exist, matter and needed to be included in the community.
Speaking during the campaign rally, a sign language interpreter and chairman of the Challenging the Challenge Initiative Patrick Muhia Mwangi, said the biggest disadvantage that most deaf people have is that they are vulnerable but this should not deter employers in various industry to even give them jobs since most of them have the right skills.
“There is need to introduce sign language to the schools and curricula to enable students start early especially since most of deaf people disability is hidden and you will find someone passing information without noticing that they cannot hear what was said,” he said.
Muhia added that the sign language can enable the deaf people to communicate, blend in with each other and not feel left out on various programmes.
“County Governments should go ahead and offer job opportunities to them so that they can maximize their potential,” he added.
Hannah Wanja who has a hearing impairment and a teacher at Kambui School for the Deaf said that people should not discriminate against the hearing impaired persons as they could perform as any other abled people.
“It feels so wrong for us to be discriminated against in the offices or any other place. All we want is to be appreciated,” she said while urging parents not to hide children with hearing impairment as they could be taught on how to sign and read so as to be seen and heard.
The awareness campaign came as the world has been celebrating International Deaf Awareness Month that is annually held in the month of September.
This year’s theme is ‘Building Inclusive Communities for all’ and aims to increase public awareness of deaf issues, people and culture.
The awareness also focuses on promoting the positive aspects of deafness, encouraging social inclusion and raising awareness of the organizations locally, nationally and globally.
According to the Kenya National Population Census 2019, there are 153,381 deaf people in Kenya aged above 5 years.
The celebration also arises from the 2017 UN General Assembly Resolution which recognizes 23 September as the International Day of Sign Language.
By Evalyne Kamau and Fridah Chomba