Deaf Women Advocate For Human Rights inclusion
By Bukola Roberts
For people living with hearing impairment to enjoy their human rights, the Deaf Women Association Nigeria (DWAN) has advocated inclusion in all aspects of life .
This was stated by the Founder, DWAN,Deaconness Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase at the end of year party of the Lagos Chapter.
Speaking in Lagos, she disclosed that their challenges include being the last persons to get information ,”Due to our disability, we are the last to get information. This is one of the reasons we ask for inclusion.
“Deafness is a hidden disability that is over-looked. It is not evident as compared to the blind or the cripple, so it is very difficult for people to comprehend us , together as a body ,we speak in one voice, to ask for our rights , for we know human rights is the rights of women living with disabilities.”
Highlighting the vision of the association, she harped that it is channeled to empower and advocate for the rights of deaf women , “DWAN is striving to engender a deaf friendly and inclusive society that guarantee full participation and equality of Deaf Women and Girls in all aspects of life.”
Continuing, she said, “To advocate for the actualization of opportunities and inclusion of Deaf Women and Girls in Nigeria in all aspects of life as well as empower and protect their rights irrespective of their religious affiliation, creed, ethnic inclinations and educational status, against any form of discrimination, or gender abuses, such as rape, human trafficking, physical abuse, violence, domestic abuse, forced labour or maltreatment in the society.”
Corroborating Beyioku- Alase , Chairperson of Lagos Chapter, Yemisi Isadora said,”The society needs to realise that deaf women are not different from other women .We are able , just like any other woman, although in a different way. We are special people who do things in a special way.With an interpreter and sign language, we are equal ,but without one there is little we can do . But we have many things to contribute to the society and to ourselves”.
On the essence of the celebration, Isadora said, “This programme is first of its kind where we are celebrating ourselves in this time of the year. If we do not talk about ourselves, no one will.”
Speaking on the challenges , she mentioned lack of funds and sponsorship were needed to take the association to the next level, saying, “We appreciate the state government for their support, but we need to be included in the markets, television programmes, and most importantly, in the hospitals where lives are involved. This will enable doctors and other medical staffs understand us, therefore there is utmost need of interpreters to aid effective communication. ”
Admonishing parents Beyioku-Alase advised parents who have deaf children or persons living with disabilities to bring their children out and educate them,
” I am also the chairperson of Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) and an advocate for skill empowerment , still there is need for formal education. Education is crucial for deaf people and without formal education a deaf person cannot go far .
“For now, not everybody can understand sign language, however a deaf person can communicate via writing.Therefore, I beckon on the parents to bring them out to educate them ,and this cuts across all forms of disabilities. The child will become a youth one day and being left as a recluse will forever hunt him.Also on the use of technology, she noted that with education, we are evolving with change, we also hold online meetings too”
For people living with disabilities,she advised them to register with the Lagos State office of disabilities affairs (LASODA) to enable them enjoy the benefits .