People living with disabilities have challenged the government to incorporate sign language in the new curriculum to be taught as one of the subjects in schools.
The Homa Bay County Director of National Council for Persons Living with Disability (NCPLWD), Ruth Oyier said that joblessness among the group is attributed to the low number of sign language interpreters.
Oyier said persons living with disability, especially those with hearing impairment are usually overlooked during recruitment for particular jobs which she claims adversely affects their economic wellbeing.
She said the inability by most employers to interpret sign language makes members of her group to be disadvantaged during hiring.
“Employers often have difficulties in hiring people living with disability especially those with hearing difficulties because of communication barriers. A basic education in the language would be the solution to this problem,” Ms Oyier said.
The county disability director made these remarks at Kabunde in Homa Bay town during celebrations to mark the International Deaf Awareness Week.
Ms. Oyier noted that the constitution recognizes sign language as one of the official languages in the country.
She said sign language should be introduced to children at an early age in school.
“There are children who lose their ability to speak after growing up. Suppose they know sigh language at an early age, they would be able to communicate effectively even after being affected,” Ms. Oyier said.
The Sight Savers programmes Coordinator, Charles Odol claimed most parents with children who have hearing impairment have difficulties communicating with them because of their inability to decode the signs.
Odol added that schools should employ at least one teacher who is able to help parents with hearing impairment when they visit such institutions.
“Apart from schools, government offices should employ someone who interprets sign language to whoever is seeking government services,” Odol said.
Rockefeller Okeyo and Bernard Oyier who are members of Homa Bay County Disability Forum challenged the government to put in place other features that can assist people with disability including ramps in government offices.
Okeyo also appealed to relevant government agencies approving construction to ensure that buildings are disability friendly.
By Davis Langat