Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Week of Deaf People with support from the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities, United Nations and the Deaf Community, under the theme “A WORLD WHERE DEAF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE CAN SIGN ANYWHERE “.
Speaking at the event was Mrs. Shishe Sianjalika who delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister of Community Development and Social Services Honourable Doreen Mwamba stated that this year’s theme accentuates the importance of sign language as a means and medium of communication and highlights the need for greater accessibility and inclusion of Deaf People in all aspects of life. The theme for 2023 reflects a fundamental goal: to ensure that sign language is recognised and respected as a legitimate form of communication and that Deaf Persons have the right and opportunity to use it everywhere. The theme serves as a call for action by various stakeholders and organisations to work together to create a Zambia in which sign language is not only accepted but celebrated.
Speaking at the same event acting Director General for ZAPD Ms. Agatha Banda stated that in as much as inclusivity of the Deaf people is important, early access or exposure to sign language education should not be taken for granted as it aids the Deaf Community in their social development, she also added on to say that creating a world where Deaf People can sign anywhere, cultural awareness and sensitization is important to dispel misconception, societal attitudes towards the Deaf Community and foster empathy, thereby creating a society that values and respects diverse forms of communication.
The ZAPD Board Member Mr. James Kapembwa stated in his speech that much of the discrimination and neglect suffered by Deaf People is due to ignorance on the part of members of the public, traditional myths and superstition abound to explain its existence and stereotype Deaf People face because of limited scientific knowledge.
The Deaf Community representative Mr. Moses Soko was present and spoke at the event on the importance of ensuring an Inclusive Society where sign language is respected and recognised as a form of communication.
The commemoration was successfully held which involved a match past and various sensitization and awareness programs on the importance of inclusion of Deaf People in Society.