The deaf want to follow parliamentary debates too

The deputy minister in the presidency responsible for disability affairs, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, recently suggested something should be done to ensure that the country’s hearing-impaired can follow parliamentary proceedings and other events in the country.

Delivering her ministerial statement in the National Assembly on Thursday during International Week of Deaf, which will be held from September 19 to 25 in Ongwediva in Oshana Region, Manombe-Ncube said other in countries, like South Africa, with which Namibia always wants to draw parallels due to historical and geographical linkage, people with hearing impairments are included and integrated into the debates through sign language interpreters.

“The hearing impaired should be able to follow parliamentary proceedings and major events, as they happen, rather than to wait for the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) news at 20h00. It is as simple as accepting the fact that equality can only come through inclusion and integration into our programmes, starting from this chamber,” she advocated.

According to Manombe-Ncube, who herself is disabled, the aim of the International Week of Deaf People is to increase awareness of the needs of people with hearing impairments and their culture around the globe.
“I don’t wish to preempt the activities going on at Ongwediva, but the main programmes involve making sure that sign language be considered one of the Namibian languages.

”Sign language is unique to persons with hearing impairment, but our goal as an office is to make sure every Namibian citizen should be able to master basic sign language communication if we are to be equal citizens. This is why we endeavour to streamline disability issues, including [the promotion of] sign language through training, among other issues,” the deputy minister said.

She said by doing so Namibia would be able to promote the rights of the hearing-impaired through education and access to information.

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