Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, DWAN, has demanded free healthcare programs, employment, and provision of sign language interpreters for Deaf women in order to remove communication barriers at hospitals, police stations, and other public places. The group also canvassed for inclusion at social functions and passage of Disability Rights Bill to promote their whole rights.
National President of the Association, Deaconess (Mrs) Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase made the call in a press conference organized on Wednesday at NTA station, Gombe State in collaboration with Gombe State Deaf Women Association to commemorate the International Women’s Day Themed: Choose to Challenge, with Focus on Women In Leadership and Achieving Equal Future in a post COVID-19 World.
Deaconess Beyioku-Alase, who is also the founder of the association in her remarks, thanked ladies and gentlemen of the press for their presence to add their voices and bridge the gap on behalf of Nigerian Deaf Women and their plights.
She noted that the Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, since its inception on 3rd September 2001 has maintained a tradition of going round States in the 6 Geo- political zones of Nigeria to organize yearly conferences and capacity building workshops/seminars toward addressing the plights and advocating for the inclusion of Nigerian Deaf Women.
“We are here in Gombe State being one of the Northeastern States to Promote the Rights of Deaf women in the zone as citizens and also to celebrate International Women’s Day”
Alase further added that, “to give the Deaf women in Gombe State a sense of belonging, they need to be alleviated and empowered to be responsible citizens and contribute to societal building.
She charged the Gombe State Government, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and private individuals to contribute their quotas for actualization of solutions to the enumerated challenges toward making Gombe State worth living for her Deaf women and girls.
Beyioku however lamented that Deaf Women in Nigeria always face a lot of challenges particularly at hospital where there’s no sign language interpreter to facilitate communication between Deaf women and Doctors. “We really need to have sign language interpreters available for us particularly at hospital, courts, police stations, etc to facilitate communication.
“We demand our rights and want the government to carry everyone along in all government activities, policies, appointment and programmes thereby leaving no one behind and giving everyone a sense of belonging both on society and government.
“We are not begging but advocating for the Rights of the Deaf” she noted.
Beyioku invited everyone to the opening Ceremony of the program scheduled to take place today, Thursday 7th April 2021 at Federal College of Education (Technical) Auditorium Hall in Gombe.
On her part, Hajiya Amina Ahmed, the National Women Leader of Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, NNAD lamented that the way the society is treating the Deaf particularly Deaf women is not encouraging.
“We are part of the Society and our Deafness doesn’t stop us from doing anything hearing people can do. Unfortunately the society doesn’t care about the Deaf and Persons with Disabilities”
She prayed that the challenges and advocacy will be recognized by the society and the government.
Meanwhile The Executive Secretary, National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Mr. James Lalu who was represented by Acting Director of the commission, Mr Lawrence Idemudia remarked that with the advocacy done by this Association and other Disabled People Organizations in various states annually, some state governments have already listened to their voices and signed Disability Rights Bill into Law.
He then urged the Gombe State Government to do the same while noting that the Executive Secretary of the National Commission will soon be on ground to discuss and implore the State Government to sign Gombe State Disability Rights Bill into Law.
More photos from the rally and press conference: