Deaf People in Thika Decry Discrimination Due to Lack of Sign Language Interpreters

Deaf persons in Thika hold street campaigns to champion their rights. Photo by KNA

BY Muoki Charles (KNA)

Deaf people in Thika have decried discrimination by the government and society due to the lack of sign language interpreters in most offices.

Led by Paul Macharia, an instructor and a sign language interpreter, they called on the government to ensure that every sector in both public and private entities has a sign language interpreter.

Speaking during a deaf awareness campaign to champion their rights, they said the neglect has led to frustration and depression, with little intervention.

They said that besides English and Kiswahili, sign language is recognized by the constitution and must be embedded in various offices.

“The challenges that our people go through while seeking services, especially in hospitals, police stations, and other offices, are frustrating due to the lack of a sign language interpreter,” said Macharia. “Most of them end up embarrassed or not getting served at all due to the communication barriers.”

Macharia also called on society to end the stigma that still remains a big challenge affecting this group despite their exceptional abilities.

Deaf people in Thika cited the health department, saying that in most cases, healthcare providers give them the wrong medication due to communication breakdowns.

At police stations, they said that many victims of rape and defilement cases end up losing the case because there are no sign language interpreters at the stations to help them file the matter and help them through the judicial process.

Boniface Muriuki, one of the Deaf people, decried the lack of representation in workplaces and called for equality when it comes to employment opportunities.


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