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April 11, 2004

Uganda Deaf Group Makes Demands

From: Sacramento Observer - Sacramento,CA,USA - Apr 12, 2004


KAMPALA (NNPA) - Members of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) called on the Ugandan government to provide adequate education and employment to the hearing impaired.

Addressing a news conference at their headquarters in Kampala, they demanded that the government should make sign language interpretation available at all public places.

According to Uganda's 1991 Population and Housing Census, there are about 2.4 million disabled people in Uganda, 10 percent of whom are deaf. Around 80 percent of the deaf cannot read and write and 70 percent cannot count to 10, according to the census.

"Education is the basis of everything in life," said Joseph Mbulamwana, UNAD's information officer. "Without education, there is no work."

But Christopher Wimon Okecho, of Special Needs Education in the Ministry of Education said that' The Basic Education Policy and Cost Framework for Educationally Disadvantaged Children, which was discussed by the Ministry of Education in October 2002 is awaiting cabinet approval.

The policy calls for construction of schools, payment of special teachers and translators and a sign language curriculum as required by the 1995 Uganda Constitution, Okecho said.

"All the complaints by UNAD are here (in the draft policy)," he said. "It's only implementation that is left. That is the problem that government is facing now."

Okecho went on to say that the Ugandan government recognizes that special care should be provided but costs exceed budgetary allocations.

This story comes special to the NNPA from IPS/GIN.

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