Somaliland Diaspora Agency and Somaliland Deaf Association jointly held a ceremonial event for 25 young graduates with hearing disabilities from secondary schools and made awareness on the challenges the deaf youth suffers in the learning environment and the social integration cohesion at Haraf Hotel, Hargeisa, Thursday, 20th Oct, 2016.
Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Ministry of Education & Higher Studies and the Chairman of UCID Political Party, Eng. Faisal Ali Warabe attended the meeting with over 50 deaf youth and students including the graduates, especial needs teachers, business firms, members from the Somaliland Diaspora and other guests.
The meeting intended to support celebration of the 25 deaf graduates, boys and girls who accomplished their secondary education from different secondary schools in Hargeisa with the help of translators for their especial need and at the same time raise awareness of the public including the government, aid agencies and the Somaliland Diaspora abroad in the destitute conditions of the people with hearing disabilities.
Chairman of Somaliland Deaf Association, Mr. Khalid Ali Hussein gave a long speech he explained the basic needs, problems and the major challenges the deaf are suffering in Somaliland particularly in access to learning, skills and employment opportunities, communication and in the social cohesion in general, and how the public are not aware of their situation. Mr. Hussein pointed out the absence of especial needs curriculum and the negative consequences it resulted on the lives of the deaf youth in Somaliland. “Importance of this meeting is to introduce the public about the problems the deaf are suffering in the areas of education, lack of special needs curriculum, learning facilities, skills training opportunities, sportive and recreational facilities, and employment and generating income chances” included his speech. He called for the government, business people, aid agencies, Somaliland Diaspora and the public to consider the needs and the rights of the deaf. “The deaf students cannot pursue their education when they graduate from the primary because there are no translators for them in the secondary schools. Some of them immigrate, and others turn to drugs when they lack the opportunity and they all remain unemployed as well. There are no translators for the deaf in all the public and private service centers like schools, hospitals, police stations etc and so they cannot meet their needs” he added.
Chairman of UCID Political Party, Eng. Faisal Ali Warabe stated the deaf needs as a national issue and which requires immediate response and effective action. Eng. Warabe complimented the Diaspora Agency and SL MOFA for raising this significant issue and suggested formation of a national level task force comprising Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, Labor & Social Development, the Deaf Association and the other concerned stakeholders to help the deaf and the community with the especial needs. The Chairman promised himself to volunteer and join such task force. He pointed out the absence especial needs curriculum the main obstacle and called for joint action towards supporting f the deaf youth in the learning environment, communication and access to social integration.
The other speakers included Executive Director of Somailand Diasproa Agency, Mr. Hassan Ahmed Yusuf, Director of the Especial Needs Department, Mr. Abdishakur Mohamed Abdi, Vice Chairperson of Somaliland Deaf Organization, Mr. Mohamoud Abdirahman Ahmed and a number of the deaf youth including those graduated. They all expressed their complaints in the lack of support and the necessary assistance they are missing from the public.
“Hargeisa Municipality promised to support the deaf, pay the rent cost of the training centers and provide a land for school construction. We are confident that Somaliland Diaspora will contribute to funding of this project, if the local government provides suitable land. The deaf students communicate via mobile text messages to their families and friends. However, they cannot afford the cost as they are mostly from low income households and are unemployed. The access to internet and the IT greatly helps those who know in learning but they cannot all pay for it nor have equipments. We asked some of the telecommunication companies in Somaliland to exempt sms text charges from them. We are calling for SOMTEL and TELESOM to exempt the charges in mobile texting from them as the deaf students are not more in number” said the Executive Director of Somaliland Diaspora Agency.