Kirinyaga County marked Deaf Awareness Week with calls on the government to be proactive about the plight of the Deaf community.
Led by Nominated Member of County Assembly (MCA) Harrison Kariuki, who represents people living with disabilities, the leaders urged the government and other stakeholders to be mindful of the welfare of the Deaf community, noting that many continue to live in poverty because of discrimination when pursuing opportunities.
The event that was held at PCEA grounds in Kerugoya brought together people with hearing challenges where they were taught different life skills, among others, HIV/AIDS prevention.
The nominated member further urged residents to learn the sign language, as that would break the language barrier that the Deaf community continues to experience.
‘I am very proud of the first daughter, Charlene Ruto, because she has been at the forefront of championing the rights of the Deaf community; she has even gone further to learn Kenyan sign language,’ Harrison said.
Harrison, the first Deaf MCA in Kenya, promised to continue advocating for the rights of people living with disabilities and also spearheading public awareness on the need to stop stigmatising the Deaf community.
Kirinyaga has a special school, Kerugoya School for the Deaf, a public boarding primary school in Kerugoya run by a religious organisation that has enhanced sign language.
Early this year, Kirinyaga Woman Rep. Jane Maina pledged to push for a bill to introduce mandatory teaching of sign language in all schools.
Maina said the move will enhance easier communication among all, thus enabling those abled differently, particularly the deaf and dumb, to realise their full potential as well as ensure their full participation in social-economic-related obligations.
The legislator added that the bill will bring an end to the discriminatory treatment imposed on the group as it will impart knowledge to society on how to handle victims.
She decried that ignorance of sign languages and lack of implementation of other affirmative actions have gravely contributed to the alienation of the group in many empowerment and employment-related opportunities, thus slowing their economic progress.
Source: Kenya News Agency