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June 25, 2004

Liberian Deaf in HIV/Aids Awareness W'shop

From: - Africa - Jun 25, 2004

The NEWS (Monrovia)
June 25, 2004

By Moses M. Zangar Jr.

About 30 Liberian deaf in Monrovia are currently undergoing a week-long 'training of trainers' workshop on HIV/AIDS awareness.

The United Methodist Church in Baltimore, USA, is sponsoring the workshop in collaboration with the United Methodist Church in Liberia. The workshop began Monday and is expected to end Saturday.

Participants of the workshop are drawn from two deaf organizations, the Liberia National Association of the Deaf (LNAD) and the Organization for the Social Integration of Liberian Deaf (OSILD). They are undergoing the training with the help of five local deaf interpreters and a visual aid.

Edward Chea, a Liberian deaf and Katie Kramer, an American trained deaf educator, are the two facilitators of the workshop. Both facilitators are graduates of the Gallaudet University, the world's only university for the deaf.

Chea and Kramer told a news briefing Wednesday that the deaf community in Liberia constitutes a cardinal part of the population that is vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS pandemic owing to language barrier.

And as such, they spoke of their desire in using their expertise to educating Liberian deaf on the dangers that the killer disease poses to their health and future.

They hoped that participants at the workshop would properly utilize the skills acquired from the training in spreading and creating HIV/AIDS awareness amongst their colleagues.

The mood of transmission, preventive measures and the effects of the disease were among topics treated at the workshop.

In a brief interview with journalists, Joshua C. Bull and Benjamin Emmerson, President and Vice President of the LNAD and OSILD respectively, thanked the sponsors and facilitators for the training. They said the workshop is an eye-opener for them, because many of them have not had the opportunity to know much about AIDS, especially its prevention.

Bull and Emmerson are calling on the National Transitional Government of Liberia as well as the next elected Government to prioritize deaf education at all levels because they, too, are part of the whole.

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