BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
PEOPLE with disability residing in Honiara gathered yesterday to commemorate International Week of Deaf People and International Day of Sign Language.
The theme of the week-long celebration was “Rights, culture and sign language for equal opportunities and accessing information”.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr Neimia Bainavlu said it is encouraging to see organisations such as Solomon Islands Deaf Association (SIDA) taken the effort to organize the event.
“This indicates the realisation of your abilities and the significant evidence of empowerment by persons with disabilities in taking leading role in activities of their interests,” Bainavalu said.
“The goal of empowerment is for persons with disabilities and their family members to make own decisions and take responsibility for changing their lives and improving their communities,” he added.
Bainavalu said the effort in organising this kind of event requires different skills.
These include teamwork skill, leadership, planning, organizing, coordinating, networking, communication, negotiation, budgeting creativity, multitasking and teach savvy to name a few.
“You have demonstrated these skills by making this event a reality that brings all of us in this occasion as an approach towards community participation and community mobilization.
“This international week help us to promote awareness of human rights and sign language by hosting a variety of activities to the theme.”
Claude Ivupitu, President for Solomon Islands Deaf Association (SIDA), acknowledges the presence of all invited guests and people with disability.
“I am so happy to see you all today. This is our first ever event and I really appreciate all of you who have manage to spare your Monday morning to join us in the celebration,” Ivupitu said.
He stressed people who are deaf and have hearing loss have been considered disabled, have been marginalised and discriminated in all spheres of life.
“The event starting yesterday is an opportunity for them (deaf people) to raise awareness and issues they faced.”
Ivupitu adds by thanking the Australian Government funded program Strongim Bisnis for supporting the event and also UNDP through their Access to Justice Program.
The International week of deaf people and International day of sign language is celebrated annually by the global Deaf community during the last full week of September.
This is the same month the first World Congress of the World Federation of Deaf was held.