The Kenya Society for the Deaf has kicked off a campaign to have the Kenya Sign Language included in the school syllabus to enable all learners understand it.
This, according to the society’s chairman, Mr. Francis Ng’ang’a, will enable the learners to communicate with persons with hearing impairment with a view to making the language national alongside English and Kiswahili.
“Very soon we are going to lobby the government to introduce sign language in all schools so that all Kenyans will be able to communicate with deaf people,” Mr. Ng’ang’a, who is also a former Secretary General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) said.
Speaking at the Pwani Secondary School for the Deaf in Kilifi Town Monday, Mr. Ng’ang’a appealed to parents of deaf children to take such children to the nearest schools for the deaf instead of keeping them in their homes and seek financial assistance from the society.
“We urge all parents with deaf children to take them to the nearest schools of their society, and in case of any financial handicaps, let them come to the society’s headquarters and we shall give them money and facilities to keep these children in school,” he said.
Mr. Ng’ang’a at the same time urged the National and County Governments to employ persons with hearing impairment who apply for jobs in various departments, saying that it had been proven that deaf people were also productive.
“Deaf people should be incorporated in government employment and like in Uasin Gishu County where there are at least 15 deaf people employed by the county government, we ask all county governments to take care of all grown deaf people and employ some of them.
Mr. Ng’ang’a urged the two levels of government to ensure that property belonging to persons with disabilities were protected from unscrupulous people.
This is after it emerged that land belonging to the Pwani Secondary School for the Deaf that has 136 learners had been grabbed by a private developer despite the school having a title deed for the 18 acres and an allotment later for another 12 acres.
Mr. Ng’ang’a, who was accompanied by among others Kilifi Deputy Governor Glorah Mbetsa Chibule, lamented that the private developer had excised part of the land belonging to the Kenya Society for Deaf Children.
“We are warning those who are coming to put beacons around this compound to stop forthwith and we are calling upon the government to take immediate action to protect this land,” he said.
He said the society was committed to work with the government to put up a university for deaf children.
Ms Chibule, the Deputy Governor, assured the deaf community that the Kilifi County Government would adhere to the law that requires 30 per cent of government tenders to be awarded to women, the youth and persons with disabilities.
“We shall also create opportunities for the deaf communities to study higher education. I have been told they excel so they will decide whether to be nurses or work in any other area in the health department,” she said.
She said the Kilifi County Government would employ sign language interpreters in key institutions such as hospitals to ensure that deaf people are served better. She called on the National Government to introduce such services at Huduma Centres and other key offices.
By Emmanuel Masha