Local STEPS trainers, facilitators and partner organisations developed strategies for engaging people living with disabilities at a workshop in Gaborone from 30-31 May, 2012.
Mr. Phinda Khame from the Ministry of Health provided background information on the challenges people with disabilities are facing in Botswana. These include stigma and discrimination, high level of vulnerability, limited or no access to IEC materials and also communication barriers between caregivers and Deaf people.
The film ‘Read the Signs‘ was screened to open up a discussion on the use of film to address the specific needs of the hearing impaired and the deaf community.
The film received good feedback from the participants. Catherine, a sign language interpreter voiced her appreciation of such a documentary:
“ We need many of such resources to communicate HIV messages to the Deaf, this film can be used here in Botswana. The Deaf will be able to understand because the signing isn’t very different, its just dialects that occur even to the spoken Setswana.
Batswana’s in the north speak differently from those in other parts. I really like this film and I fell it will create good discussions among the Deaf community”.
Participants made the following suggestions to improve interaction with the hearing impaired and deaf community:
• Translate selected STEPS films into sign languages
• Train people with disabilities as peer educators
• Include sign language interpreters in facilitated film screenings
• Develop relevant IEC materials
• Sign language should be part of the school curriculum
• Service providers need to learn sign language
• Engage with Care givers
Report prepared by Elaine Maane, Steps Outreach