Locals train on sign language to ‘break barriers’
SEE ALSO :Nyahururu church embraces sign languageAmong topics trainees are taken through include finger spelling that entails using the finger to spell the alphabet and numbers. Ndung’u notes that trainees are also equipped with etiquette and dialogue skills that enable them to know how to greet people with hearing impairment. Time of the day, week and month of the year including weather is also a unit at the sign language class. Learners also go through different colours to ease communication. “Everything about people with hearing impairment revolves around signs. This is why in our lessons, we must also ensure that trainees learn how to identify different foods,” she says. The programme started with only 10 learners and currently they are 80. The first group graduated in May this year. Maimuna Mwinyi is among one of the trainees. She was challenged to enroll for the lesson as she could not communicate with her friends with hearing impairment. “I accompany social workers whenever they undertake programmes with the community to help them communicate with those with hearing impairment,” she says. Purity Mutoko, the librarian in charge says those with a hearing problem are often ignored. “The library is proud that we are able to serve people with hearing impairment. Enrollment indicates that we need to embrace the deaf because they are less understood,” Ms Mutoko says. She appeals to the government to introduce Kenya Sign Language in the curriculum to improve academic performance of the deaf. There are over 200 online courses offered at the institution, including introduction to computer, public speaking, leadership, entrepreneurship, community journalism and interview skills. Short online courses are supported by the Chicago Public Library, Electronic Information for Library and Peer to Peer University that aims at equipping library users with relevant skills.
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