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UFS provides sign language skills to locals
2016-02-12

Description: UFS provides sign language skills to locals  Tags: Sign language

Susan Lombaard teaching at one of the sessions
Photo: Valentino Ndaba

The public and private sectors are becoming more aware of the need for effective communication between employers, employees, and clients who use Sign Language. Given that Sign Language is the first language of approximately 600 000 people in South Africa, competence in the language means taking the first step towards more inclusive service delivery.
 
Shout Out Loud - a project that promotes Sign Language - has signed up Bloemfontein Celtics, Centlec, Beyond Boundaries, and the Mangaung Municipality on a Basic South African Sign Language course at the University of the Free State.
 
No miscommunication
 
Susan Lombaard, the Acting Head at the Department of South African Sign Language, was one of the lecturers who presented the 40-hour accredited course every Friday from 15 January-12 February 2016. Other lecturers who were responsible for training were Emily Matabane and Tshisikhawe Dzhivani.
 
Lombaard believes that learning Sign Language bridges the gap between the hearing and those who have impairments. “The benefit is that there will be no miscommunication. It happens that a deaf person walks into a bank or municipality offices and there is no communication. They need to write which is humiliating for that person.”
 
Towards a promising future
 
According to Goodwill Mokoena, Project Manager at Beyond Boundaries, the project will continue annually, and a larger intake of government departments and non-governmental organisations is expected in 2016.He also indicated that Shout Out Loud has achieved substantial success in its involvement with the Bartimea School for the Blind and Deaf.

Shout Out Loud selects one pupil every month, and flies them to Johannesburg to interpret on Bloemfontein Celtics’ magazine show. It is the only magazine show in South Africa that has a sign language interpreter. “The school has been achieving 100% in matric results because the pupils are selected on merit. This has enhanced their academic performance in such a marvelous way,” said Mokoena.

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