Malawi’s President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has directed that all public institutions and functions, including media houses, should have a sign language interpreter.
Chakwera’s directive come in wake of reports that many deaf people are left behind in terms of contributing to the country’s development due to lack of information.
Chakwera made the directive during the commemoration of the 2021 International Day of Sign Language in Lilongwe on Wednesday, October 6th, 2021.
The day falls on 23rd September every year.
Chakwera urged Malawians to start looking at Sign Language not as a favor to the deaf as it is a human right.
“Every person has the right to acquire a language from the moment they are born and that includes sign language for persons born with hearing impairment.
“In this new Malawi, we want the use of sign language to be adopted everywhere, for every function, and by every institution,” said Chakwera.
He committed to narrowing the gap existing between the policy and practice in terms of sign language.
The Malawi leader said his government train sign language interpreters at district level and that a sign language dictionary will be established to harmonize all sign languages into one.
“As we build the army of sign language interpreters, I expect the Ministry of Information to ensure that the media houses that do not yet have sign language interpreters on their television platforms are brought to full compliance.
“When it comes to inclusivity towards deaf people, I can think of no place where there is no yawning gap between policy and practice.
“Our 2022/23 budget will include resources for specialist and sign language training, for the establishment of more resource centres, and for renovating existing resource centres,” promised Chakwera.
At this point, Chakwera urged people to support businesses by deaf people.