The Botswana Association for the Deaf is promoting communication between people with hearing disabilities and other members of the community by offering Botswana Sign Language classes in Kanye and Gaborone for a period of six months.
Information about the Courses
• In Kanye, classes will be taking place at Maranyane Primary School on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4.30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
• In Gaborone classes will be taking place in Ithuteng Primary School on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am until midday.
• The cost of the six-month course is of only P300 (approximately 35 USD), and those who finish the course will graduate and receive a certificate for passing all modules.
Shirley Keoagile said on Friday that the aim of the course was to encourage people to learn Botswana Sign Language in order to strengthen communication between Botswana’s hearing impaired and the rest of the community. It is also aimed at family members who wish to learn the language. The courses will be handled by the members of the Botswana Association for the Deaf, which will also design the classes and their content.
Lack of Communication and its Effects
The lack of knowledge within the community makes the lives of people with hearing disabilities significantly harder. They struggle to communicate their needs and become a part of their own country and it affects their relationship with the government, who cannot understand these people’s feelings and needs because they cannot communicate when people with hearing disabilities go to their offices for help. The problem even extends to other institutions such as hospitals and the police department, who also lack trained staff.
The Botswana Association for the Deaf
The association’s aim is to advocate for this minority, especially by offering access to education. In April, 2012, the association organized an exposition in Botswana to bring together service providers and people with hearing disabilities to encourage communication between them. Some of the institutions that were represented in the exposition shared what they did to help: The Botswana Police Department, for example, stated they had trained some officers to be able to master Botswana Sign Language, but the number of officers is not enough to cover for the entire country’s needs. The idea that the Botswana Association for the Deaf is pushing forward is that communication is necessary and should be granted further attention even though some institutions already have some trained members.