By Samira Larbie, GNA
Accra, Jan. 02, GNA - Pastor Godfrey K. Augustt, the General Overseer of Christ Chosen Deaf Generation, has appealed to government to assist in addressing challenges facing deaf people in the country.
He said although most of them were skilled, unemployment was still rife amongst them.
This was a situation he prayed could be solved to curb if not totally done away with to reduce the number of hearing impaired persons who beg on streets and places.
Pastor Godfrey was speaking at the 60th anniversary symposium of Deaf Christian Mission and Education in Ghana to give thanks to God and commemorate the African-American deaf Dr. Andrew J. Foster who established the deaf mission in the country.
The objective of the symposium was to provide a platform for policy advocates, sign language educators, Deaf education and Christian mission’s researchers, as well as other stakeholders to critically examine the progress made 60 years on and discuss the way forward towards addressing the inherent challenges.
He said the establishment of the Deaf Christian Mission in Ghana in 1956 saw the education and effective communication of deaf people in Ghana, but they still remained unemployed.
According to him deaf people formed part of the population and have various skills as well as talents and therefore needed the support of government to better their lot.
“Government should try as much as possible to train teachers in sign language since the absence of this skill is not making deaf students to benefit in schools especially the training colleges”, he said.
The Pastor therefore asked that acquiring sign language skill should be enshrined in the constitution and be made a mother tongue to enable everyone learn it.
“What we are seeing now is not good for deaf people at all, as teachers are not teaching with love, there is so much pressure, oppression, discrimination and no equal access for hearing impaired persons towards education,” he stated.
He called on stakeholders to be concerned with the problems of deaf people because if they are well educated they could be useful in society.
He said another major problem deaf people faced was parental discrimination as they paid less attention to them.
He said it was not the fault of such children and advised parents to give them the needed support in education and other mandatory entitlements.
“Many other individuals, civil society, and governments, continue to provide support in various kinds and advocate the challenges of the Deaf Ghana, but the state of Deaf Education and employment and deaf Christian Mission is still a matter of great concern.”
Pastor Thomas Marfo, the first Deaf Pastor in Ghana, also appealed to government to understand the plight of deaf people and not be left out of the educational, heath, political and economic spheres of society, as they are active contributors to development.
He also called on the government to pay more attention to the legislative instruments that would strengthen the effective implementation of policies to ensure the well-being and employment rights of deaf people in Ghana.