By ZBC Reporter
SIGN language is an indispensable tool of communication.
As the world commemorates the International Day of Sign Languages this Wednesday, an interrogation is made as to why it is important to ensure no one is left behind because of hearing or speaking challenges.
A renowned philosopher, Socrates once said: “If we hadn’t a voice or a tongue, and wanted to express things to one another, wouldn’t we try to make signs by moving our hands, head, and the rest of our body…?”
This is the reality of over 72 million people around the globe who have hearing impairments.
For those without such challenges, their job is to offer more support by partaking in non-verbal communication which on its own is part of every communication process.
ZBC News Sign Language Presenter, Abigirl Joyce Magwenzi is of the view that International Day of Sign Languages is important in celebrating diversity and raising awareness on the rights of people with hearing impairments.
“Most people look down upon people with hearing impairments, they think that people with hearing impairments cannot make decisions and cannot be consulted but this is not so. Anyone can have hearing impairments at any point in time and anyone can find themselves using sign languages, so it is very important to celebrate the day,” she said.
Another ZBC News Sign Language Presenter, Noble Mawungwa spoke on what motivated him to study Sign Language when he does not have hearing challenges.
“I was the only teacher in a family of 6 and when my uncle who had a hearing impairment, married a woman with the same challenges, I was given the task to communicate with the couple – I was sort of interpreting what the couple was saying to other members of the family. That motivated me to pursue studies in special needs education so that I would help the deaf community to communicate and also raise awareness on the needs of this community,” noted Mawungwa.
The International Day of Sign Languages is one of the special days that have been added to the international calendar, with the first commemoration taking place on the 23rd of September in 2018.
Being celebrated under theme: Sign language is for everyone,’ there is acknowledgement that early access to Sign language plays a vital role in the growth and development of individuals with hearing impairments.