DEAF pupils from Eastern Cape schools called for equal rights at a deaf awareness march held in Matatiele last Friday. They said deaf people are marginalised and discriminated when it comes to receiving quality education and academic opportunities.They marched to the Matatiele Police Station as well as the Matatiele taxi and bus rank to raise awareness about their plight.The pupils were coming from various Eastern Cape deaf schools including Sive Special School in Cedarville, Efata School for the Blind and Deaf in Mthatha, Reuben Birin School for the Hearing Impaired in Port Elizabeth and St Thomas Special School in King Williams Town.They said their voices are being excluded in many cases and, as a result, decisions are taken without them. They called for communities to learn sign language and asked for more sign language teachers to be provided in schools.Veliswa “Veve” Piyoos, the head of department (HOD) from Sive Special School in Cedarville, said special schools lack professional sign language teachers. “Most deaf children do not know sign language because they are kept at their homes. We want deaf children to be taken to deaf schools or deaf centres to learn sign language and other skills,” she said.An evening gala dinner, where pupils showcased their skills, was held at Sive Special School on Friday evening. “SAPS appreciated the stand taken by deaf pupils for the benefit of the public,” said SAPS spokesperson Captain Raphael Motloung.