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March 23, 2004

Seychellois delegation impressed by facilities for deaf in S. Africa

From: Seychelles Nation - Victoria,Seychelles - Mar 23, 2004

The group of deaf people who recently made an exchange trip to Cape Town, South Africa, have described their trip as "exciting, emotional and fun."

Winston Malow, Antoinette Hoareau and Shirley Alcindor, three deaf people, were accompanied by Mrs Anita Gardner on a familiarization visit last month to the Dominican Deaf School in Cape Town.

According to Mrs Gardner, the trio was impressed with the facilities on offer at the Dominican Deaf School and has expressed the desire to have such facilities here.

The state-owned school for the deaf caters for around 200 deaf children and grown ups, among whom are babies.

According to Mrs Gardner the school offers a number of facilities aimed not only at encouraging deaf people to use sign language but also to speak. She said that there are well-equipped computer, art and carpentry rooms, where the students learn to use their other skills.

Mrs Gardner said it was a very emotional moment for the three Seychellois and

if everything goes according to plan, another group of deaf people is expected to make a similar trip to Cape Town in December to familiarize themselves with those facilities there.

Two of them will have the opportunity to stay for one month in Cape Town to familiarize themselves with more sign language techniques.

However Mrs Gardner noted that there might be a language barrier since most of the deaf Seychellois students have difficulty communicating in English.

"I have a hard task ahead of me to teach them English and prepare the two who will be chosen for the trip. Even if it will be a mammoth task, I am ready to take the challenge since I want to see them progress," she said.

A group of deaf people from the South African school is expected to reciprocate the visit in the near future.

Mrs Gardner had to extend her stay in South Africa for another week to attend a two-day workshop at the Kraaifontein School for Sign Language, where she learned more about sign languages for religious celebrations.

Apart from visiting the school, the Seychellois delegation had the opportunity to visit some interesting places like Cape Point and Table View and did some shopping.

Mrs Gardner had words of thanks to Air Seychelles, Round Table, Deepam Entertainment and all those who have helped in one way or another to make the trip possible.

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