Uganda Joins Rest of the World To Commemorate International Week of the Deaf (IWD) 2020
Minister of State for Disability and Elderly, Hon. Sarah Kanyike has said that Uganda will join the international community to commemorate the International Week of the Deaf (IWD) 2020 which is running from 21st to 25th September.
In Uganda, this week has been commemorated since 2006 and this year’s event will be held in Masaka city in a scientific manner with a limited number of participants due to the Covid19 pandemic under the theme “Sign Language Rights for All.”
This theme has been selected to reaffirm the importance of sign language which is the mode of communication for deaf people as their right.
The International Week of the Deaf (IWD) is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and was launched and commemorated in 1958 in Rome, Italy.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the percentage of persons with hearing impairment is 3.1% of the total percentage of persons with disabilities of 12.4%.
Minister Kanyike has noted that there are still some challenges especially in the education sector where learners with hearing disabilities have found it difficult to access e-learning especially due to the Covid19 pandemic.
She, however, says that the Ministry of Education and Sports under the Special Needs Department is working out modalities on how to increase access to learning for deaf learners.
Minister Kanyike has added that the ministry of gender, Labor and social development is currently reviewing the National Policy on Disability and it has prioritized popularization of sign language as a mode of communication for the deaf.
The policy, minister Kanyike says, will adopt the Uganda Sign Language Dictionary as the key document to be applied in communication.
She says the Persons with Disabilities Act 2020 is also being translated into Audio Visual and will have all provisions in the law signed as per the Uganda Sign Language Dictionary.
However, the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) has criticized government of Uganda for failing to reaffirm its commitment to promote Sign language.
In a statement released by UNAD today, Executive Director Joseph Mbulamwana, says that without the re-affirmation of Sign Language rights for all, Sign Language is excluded from the budgets and plans and the same applies to provision of sign language interpreters in service delivery.
He says that in summary, this means that deaf persons are excluded and their human rights violated.
Mbulamwana adds that there cannot be human rights promotion to deaf persons without sign language.