The plight of deaf people

2019-09-18 06:02

THE MONTH of September is dedicated to deaf people and raising awareness on the everyday challenges that they encounter.

Many deaf pupils in schools face communication and literacy challenges, with the South African National Deaf Association (Sanda) saying that many of these challenges are a result of hearing teachers not being proficient in South African Sign Language (SASL), which is the only language that many deaf pupils understand.

Sanda spokesperson Thoriso Mndawe said: “The Department of Basic Education tries to attend to and solve [this issue] but there are always challenges, for example some deaf assistant teachers are not properly educated on teaching themselves, making it difficult for them to teach deaf pupils.

“Proper education background checks should be done for deaf assistant teachers as deaf pupils suffer due to poor deployment.

“Sanda offers basic South African Sign Language training to hearing people and parents of deaf children in order to allow them to communicate with their deaf children and minimise isolation.” Sanda also offers HIV/Aids education, sports, leadership training, capacity building, economic empowerment and more. Deaf people in rural communities are still marginalised as a result of the shortage of skilled teachers to facilitate learning programmes to people with disabilities.

Mndawe said: “We are reaching out to the rural communities through the development of the organisation in the municipalities around South Africa. “We helped to develop and establish the Matatiele Deaf Association, Mopani Deaf Association, eHlanzeni Deaf Association, Tshwane Deaf Association, Amajuba Deaf Association, Soweto Deaf Association, Ekurhuleni Deaf Association, and many more. Through these programmes, [we are able to] reach our communities and provide basic services to the deaf community.

“We need monetary funding in the form of donations, grants and sponsorships to ensure that these community-based programmes are able to self-sustain.” To learn more about upcoming outreach programmes and events being held by Sanda this National Month of Deaf People, call 012 343 0661 or visit


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