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Monday, July 15, 2024

UZ promotes Sign Language to foster inclusivity

Story by Chikomborero Kanyemba

THE Second Republic’s agenda of leaving no one and no place behind has been taken to institutions of higher learning with the University of Zimbabwe promoting the use of sign language.

Students studying for various degree programmes including Medicine, law, engineering, and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe have embraced sign language, joining classes meant to ensure they are conversant with one of the country’s official languages.

“I am expecting to start an organisation that helps deaf people with depression, especially with Postpartum depression because 19% of deaf women who give birth experience depression which results in them rejecting their babies. So, we will be creating Sign language dictionaries and educating therapists to learn sign language and awareness campaigns to ensure that deaf people are included,” stated a Science Student Tinomuvongaishe Chekayi.

“I hope that by the time we will be carrying out our ward rounds and we will be interacting with patients, we will include the deaf within the health system and they can efficiently get health services,” reiterated Trish Matarutse, Medical Student.

Phonos Nyakudya who is studying law at the same institution added, “We want to interpret Chapter 4 of the constitution using Sign Language. We want to create signs that are in line with all the rights that are we within the access of everyone else and we want to advocate for the deaf people.”

The University of Zimbabwe’s move is in line with the second republic’s inclusive development agenda.

“There are about 500 or more Students who are learning Sign language and what motivates the majority of students who do sign language is to fill in the gap between the hearing and the deaf community,” noted Tawanda Matende, who is a lecturer at the institution.

“As a University right now we are coming up with an autograph and also Sign language dictionaries in a bid to fill in the communication gap in different domains of use like the Medical, legal, and Education domain.”

“We are not doing it alone because nothing for the deaf without the inclusion of the deaf, right now we are focusing on unifying and harmonizing the signs so that they can be recognised by also the Deaf community,” he specified.

The government has also enacted the National Disability Policy to advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities.

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