The Loud Silence Of The Deaf
The plights of Deaf communities and schools in the country are not in the best of shapes. Adamorobe, Sekondi School for the Deaf, Cape coast School for the Deaf, Mampong School for the Deaf, just to mention but a few have for the past years not been in the best of shapes.
Last year, the Linguistics Students’ Association (LINGSA) of the University of Ghana paid a visit to the Adamorobe Village and the Mampong School for the Deaf respectively and had interactions with them. The case at then at the Adamorobe community was nothing to write home about because of how the Deaf people have been isolated and demarginalized in their own community. The case at Mampong School for the Deaf was also an eye saw.
This year, the LINGSA paid another visit to the Sekondi School for the Deaf and the same issues were noticed. The LINGSA had a donation exercise in the school and also had interactions with the staff and the students; the final year students who were preparing for their Basic Education Certificate Examination.
The purpose of this article is not to reiterate the plights of these people who are part of us. It is to educate and also call on all and sundry to in one way or the other help in making the lives of these people better than it is now.
It is appalling how the Deaf communities have been ‘shouting’ but we have chosen not to hear their voices. Or do we think the Deaf have no voice just because they cannot communicate verbally by word of mouth?
It is very good to note that, language has properties and as such, all the properties of spoken languages have the same properties with that of sign language. Therefore, the Deaf do ‘speak’ the sign language.
It is disheartening to hear people say, ‘deaf and dumb’. There is one thing in being Deaf and there is another thing being dumb. It is about time everyone learned the right way of addressing people with disabilities and respecting them just as they would with someone without disability.
Again, it is about time we learned that these Deaf communities really need our presence. My eyes were filled with tears when we arrived at Sekondi School of the Deaf and the students welcomed us with so much enthusiasm and happiness. We signed together and the joy alone with respect to feel wanted and loved is all that they need from everyone.
So, the next time you think of wasting anything, remember to accumulate these and get more so you can embark on an impact trip. The next time you think of calling a Deaf person ‘deaf and dumb’, remember he or she ‘may not’ be dumb. And finally, the next time you think of showing love to anyone, remember the Deaf communities need this love more than any other people.
It is about time the narratives changed and the love is spread across so we can all contribute to freeing humanity.
Author & President, LINGSA.
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