The Executive Director for the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation, Otiko Afisah Djaba has expressed disappointment in the progress being made by Ghana in improving sign language interpreter saying the country has gone to bed.
She stated that, records of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf, state that, there are approximately sixty (60) proficient Sign Language Interpreters in Ghana which represents a ratio of 1:1844 as compared to UK’s 1:31ratio.
The 23rd September was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the Week of the Deaf (WFD), which was established in 1951. The objective for dedicating this day as the International Day of Sign Languages is to raise awareness of the importance of sign language.
Speaking in an interview with Kingdom News, Otiko Djaba stressed that, Ghana as a whole has not made any positive strive in ensuring the training of more sign language interpreters to help the deaf have a say.
She used the opportunity to congratulate Sign Language Interpreters in Ghana and the rest of the World for bridging the communication gap between deaf people and their hearing counterparts.
Otiko Djaba added that, Sign Language is a tool for the development of deaf people since it offers them the opportunity to break the barriers of their world of silence as she call to action to duty bearers, carers of deaf people, Government agencies to make accessible sign language interpreter services in their programmes for the benefit of all deaf people in Ghana.
BELOW IS THE STATEMENT
On the occasion of the International Day of Sign Languages, 23rd September 2019, the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation wishes to congratulate Sign Language Interpreters in Ghana and the rest of the World for bridging the communication gap between deaf people and their hearing counterparts.
According to the 2010 Housing and Population Census, there are 110,625 deaf people in Ghana. Records of the Ghana National Association of the Deaf, state that, there are approximately sixty (60) proficient Sign Language Interpreters in Ghana. This represents a ratio of 1:1844. Comparatively, the UK has a ratio of 1:31. This means that, Ghana is far behind so the 2019 theme “Sign Language Rights for All” is very apt for Ghana. Collectively we must take action to address the inequality, stigmatization, discrimination and abuse of the rights of deaf people.
Sign Language is a tool for the development of deaf people because it offers them the opportunity to break the barriers of their world of silence. As we commemorate the 2019 International Sign Languages Day, the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation would like to make a Call to Action to duty bearers, carers of deaf people, Government agencies, Civil Society Organizations and service providers to make accessible sign language interpreter services in their programmes, organisations, homes and activities for the benefit of all deaf people in Ghana. The world of silence is not an option for any Ghanaian. To leave anybody behind or out is against their human rights and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), deaf people should have access to Sign Language Interpreters.
The 23rd September was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the Week of the Deaf (WFD), which was established in 1951. The objective for dedicating this day as the International Day of Sign Languages is to raise awareness of the importance of sign language. In the words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guteres: it is important to recognize “the importance of sign languages for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fulfilling its core promise of leaving no one behind.” The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also explicitly states that sign languages are just as important as spoken languages and state parties are obligated to facilitate the learning of sign language and to promote the linguistic identity of the deaf people.
Sign language is critical to the development and progress of deaf people. As we celebrate the 2019 International Day of Sign Languages, the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation, wishes to encourage ALL Ghanaians to appreciate the importance of early access to sign language, sign language services and quality education in sign language in line with the 2019 theme “Sign Language Rights for All.”
The Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation says AYEEKOO TO SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS IN GHANA!!!

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