When a group of journalists spent about two months studying sign language in a short-term course organized by the Media High Council in collaboration with the Rwanda Union of the Death, visited deaf and dumb people in Rubavu District who use sign language to practice to make sure they have already got skills in it.
Those who were visited were very pleased with the knowledge journalists had gained and even said that once the journalists got to know sign language, it would help the deaf to access various news from different media houses.
During an interview with the deaf, they said that it was usually difficult for them to know the information and what was being said in different programs because almost all the media had no interpreters for the sign language except for National Television.
They go on to say that at least it would be better if all the media had an interpreter to help them follow various information and programs. When there are no translators to help them understand what is being said makes them feel no need to watch TV and choose to read only to those who are able.
Olivier, a deaf student in primary school, said that the have a big challenge that when the leave the school , they can’t communicate through sign language at home as family members aren’t skilled in it.
Dusingizimana Zachalie, Director of the Ubumwe Community Center, said the parents’ perception was initially difficult to understand how to mix children with disabilities and those without disabilities so that they could learn together and have time to learn sign language.
So far parents are happy because their children are learning all the languages including the sign language which is used by the deaf.
“Sign language is a language like any other. Because it is a language that is not widely known in our schools, we have chosen to include skilled teachers who translate for the deaf and dumb so that they can attend all classes and teach it to all other students without disabilities,” he said.
Although the number of sign language users is increasing, for teachers there are still obstacles to the fact that there are no sign language manuals.
KAYIHURA Frederic, a teacher of all subjects and a sign language translator, said that they face the challenge of having some children who come to school without basic knowledge of sign language and Kinyarwanda. In this case it is difficult at first.