The Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD), will on October 1, host celebrations at Amahoro Stadium in recognition of the International Deaf Awareness Week (IDAW), which kicked off yesterday .
The purpose of the celebration is to draw attention to people with hearing impairment as well as recognizing their accomplishments and challenges.
According to a statement from the President of RNUD, Parfait Rwaka, the celebrations will provide deaf people with an opportunity to take part in the day-to-day affairs of the country.
“Most of the population is not aware of the abilities and challenges of the deaf. The objective of the celebrations will therefore be focused on raising awareness about the deaf, and to educate the public about their values and their rights,” the statement reads.
According to Moses Mayanja, a sign language interpreter at RNUD, there are over 120,000 deaf people in the country, and many of them will take part in the celebrations.
“The celebrations will begin with a march, which will start at 9 am on Friday, from Kigali Business Centre to the Ministry of Education, where they will submit a petition to the ministry concerning their demands. From there, they will gather at Amahoro Stadium for the official ceremony,” Mayanja said in an interview.
In 2006, in a bid to empower the deaf, RNUD in conjunction with Volunteers Services Overseas, an international NGO, initiated a project to create a national dictionary for the deaf.
After two years of collecting data countrywide, the Kinyarwanda Sign Language Dictionary, with over 900 illustrations, was finally launched in March 2009 during the RNUD general meeting.