By Ndey Sowe
The Development Officer on Women and Children at the Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH), Isatou Sanyang, has revealed that they are unhappy with a government helpline created for victims or witnesses of Gender Based Violence to call and report cases for immediate intervention.
The helpline, which is a toll free line, was recently launched by the Government of The Gambia through the ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare.
Madam Sanyang said they are dissatisfied with the initiative as the deaf and hard of hearing will not benefit from this initiative.
“The deaf community is not happy with this helpline to report cases of gender based violence because we are not catered for, every deaf person and hard of hearing has the right to get access to information, get assistance and justice wherever they are,” she said last week during the celebration of International Week of the Deaf.
Sanyang further said most deaf and hard of hearing women and girls are subjected to practices that harm them physically, emotionally and sadly with full knowledge or sometimes consent of their parents’ families, friends and communities.
She said every child deserves to enjoy the right to education, have access to qualify teachers who understand sign language for easy communication, have effective learning opportunity from nursery to tertiary level etc.
“Children are the most vulnerable members of society and yet they suffer most in the hands of those very people that are meant to love, nurture, protect and care for them,” she said.
“I call on all parents of deaf children to stop sending their child to the streets as beggars orhiding them at home, believing that going to school is not essential for them.”
Madam Sanyang said most of the obstacles differently able people faced on a daily basis are manmade; this she said, includes stigma and discrimination in most part of The Gambia.
“We urge the government to consider us as part and parcel of the society and citizen of the Gambia, and as well encourage society to embrace us and include us in whatever they do,” she said.
Sanyang is however optimistic that GADHOH together with the rest of the world is committed and convinced that someday, they will live in a world where deaf people’s human rights will be fully secured and respected.
Meanwhile, GADHOH is run by people with hearing impairment. It is a national NGO with projects mainly funded by charities based in Europe. They as well cooperate with Ministries and Agencies and the Government in order to improve the living condition of the deaf and hard of hearing in Gambian society. The association is linked to national and international umbrella organizations in the furtherance of their work. GADHOH supports UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disability (CRPD).