Malawi National Association of the Deaf (Manad) has launched a website and a Malawi’s Sign Language and Rights project aimed at addressing communication challenges facing the deaf.

Briefing the media yesterday, Manad National Chairperson Charles Mtambo said the development of the website, www.manadmw.org, is expected to make information about Manad and the deaf community in general easily accessible and promote Malawi sign language.

He said Manad will also engage government planners to sensitise them on the need to incorporate sign language in their projects so that the deaf are not left out in development projects.

On her part, Coordinator for the Malawi Sign Language and Rights project Juliana Mwase said the project will see 20 teachers and 20 medical personnel trained in sign language for basic communication with deaf students and patients respectively.

“Many times the deaf do not proceed with their education because they fail to lip-read their teachers. In the health sector, too, there have been cases where the deaf were given wrong prescription just because of communication breakdown.

“This project will, therefore, train some of these crucial service providers and we are liaising with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology to support this cause as our budget is limited,” Mwase said, adding the project will target teachers from schools which have resource centres.

The website has been developed with funding from the Finish Association of the Deaf while the training project is funded by Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (Osisa).

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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