Mangochi, August 2, Mana: Malawi National Association for the Deaf (MANAD) has appealed to well-wishers for support, saying the association was struggling to reach out to its membership across the country with the necessary support.
MANAD Executive Director, Byson Chimenya made the call on Saturday at the close of a two-day training for deaf women activists in Mangochi.
He said the association was struggling to implement its operations across the country due inadequate financial and material resources.
“At the moment, we only have one donor, Government of Finland, who supports us and we are very thankful for that,” Chimenya pointed out.
He added that; “However, the support is not enough for all our planned activities and we are appealing to well-wishers out there to help us reach out to our members across the country with such trainings.”
The Director said although there are a lot of human rights activists in the country, women with hearing impairment continue to face various abuses and violations of their rights as ‘they don’t have a voice.’
He bemoaned shortage of sign language interpreters in the country, saying the gap was pushing people with hearing impairment far behind as they do not follow issues and developments relevant to their day-to-day lives.
“We don’t have enough trained sign language interpreters in the country; we only have five trained, active interpreters and we mostly use interpreters that are not fully trained,” Chimenya said.
According to the Director, there are over 400,000 people with hearing impairment in the country, arguably the biggest figure among various disabilities.
MANAD Chairperson for the Women’s Wing, Missie Chipata said the training has instilled confidence in the women, adding that they would be able to stand up and be counted in the society.
She called for more support saying the association would like to reach out to as many women as possible with such trainings.
She appealed to government, district councils and civil society organizations to consider supporting and involving MANAD in activities implemented at various levels.
One of the facilitators, Sub-Inspector, Steria Banda, from Mangochi Police Station Victim Support Unit spelled the need for more trained sign language interpreters.
She appealed for more awareness and sensitization noting that women with hearing challenges face physical, economic and emotional abuses as they are looked down upon and left out.
The training drew 15 lead women activists from 15 districts across the country, among them; Karonga, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Mangochi, Blantyre and Nsanje.