Deaf Life8th September 2014

International Deaf Awareness Week Used as Springboard for Deaf Services

The Kenya National Association of the Deaf has developed plans that could be life changing for the deaf community

by Sarah Lawrence

The International Deaf Awareness Week, also known as International Week of the Deaf or International Week of Deaf People, is a global event that is celebrated annually on the last week of September. The event is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf and is run in collaboration with national associations of the Deaf from across the world.

During the week, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities worldwide are invited to highlight the achievements, challenges and future expectations of their Deaf community. In particular, it is an opportunity to review how public and private services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people can be improved to meet their needs. Countries use the week in different ways with some bigger events involving Deaf people in a celebration of their culture, national heritage and their unique language.

This year, the Kenya National Association of the Deaf (KNAD) has put in place arrangements that will be the envy of many countries around the world. They are using the International Deaf Awareness Week 2014 to celebrate deafness and hold the Government to account. Their plan includes forums, community work, marches, debates, events, campaigns and meetings aimed to highlight specific human rights topics as they continue with the fight to advocate and represent the rights of Deaf people in Kenya.

According to the World Federation of the Deaf, this year's theme focuses on strengthening human diversity amongst Deaf people. Strengthening human diversity recognises the difference among people, understands these differences, accepts them and celebrates them. These differences could include race, nationality, ethnicity, culture, gender, social class, age, disability, religion or political interests. This year’s theme also focuses on recognizing Kenyan Sign Language and the rights of Deaf people in Kenya.

In Kenya, International Deaf Awareness Week 2014 will be held in Nakuru County in the last week of September, 2014, from 22nd to 28th. KNAD warmly welcomes all Deaf people, Deaf organizations, Interpreters Associations and other Disabled Persons Organisations, to join them during the one week event where they will work towards improving the lives of Deaf people in Kenya.

The opportunity that KNAD have developed through their planning and hard work is significant, with virtually every arm of Government attending their week long event to discuss their service provision to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. Their approach demonstrates to many other countries in Africa and elsewhere, that the International Deaf Awareness Week can be used to bring together the community, Government decision makers and influential commentators, to discuss real life issues and agree actions that will benefit deaf people’s lives.

We wish the Kenya National Association of the Deaf and all our Deaf and Hard of Hearing friends in Kenya all the best for a fantastic, life-enhancing week.

Note: The Kenya National Association of the Deaf seeks to:

  1. Protect and promote Kenyan Sign language (KSL) and its linguistic and cultural richness.
  2. Promote KSL interpreters training and development.
  3. Advocate and promote public information, and communication accessibility without restrictions inline with disability Act 2003, Constitution of Kenya 2010 and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
  4. Promote public and private sector policies and initiatives that meet the rights and needs of the Deaf community.
  5. Participate in the formulation and development of quality and inclusive education for the Deaf learners.
  6. Collaborate with local and international organizations working with and for the deaf.

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / Deaf Life

8th September 2014