• On the 25th of April Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) held its 4th Psychosocial Support Group session and free sign language workshop in 2015. Participants were drawn from various locations in Harare and a few came from Chitungwiza and Marondera. The workshop comprised of parents, teachers, friends and relatives of children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing as well as Deaf students and adults. Addiction is one of the major problems affecting today’s youths. The workshop was aimed at educating the participants on the dangers of addiction. This was based on the realisation that a number of youths are now indulging in intoxicating substances which have become readily available in the market at low costs allowing young people to access them easily. It is not only alcohol that people can get addicted to but there are various substances and behaviours that people can be addicted to without even realizing it. Paidamoyo Chimhini gave a presentation on addictions and addictive behaviours.

  • Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) held a psychosocial support workshop on the 31st of January 2015 at DZT offices Number 12 Victory Avenue, Greendale. The workshop focused on mental health issues of the Deaf. The presentation focused on what mental health is, the importance of mental health, how to see mental health problems, signs of good mental health and mental stress Participants at the workshop included deaf people, parents, relatives, friends and colleagues of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) people. Student’s participants were drawn from St Mary’s High School in Chitungwiza and Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) students. Paidamoyo Chimhini presented on mental health, Netsai Kembo was the facilitator and Susan Masona provided interpretation services

  • On the 27th May DZT facilitated a workshop where a number of people from the Deaf community were invited. Parents, friends and relatives of the Deaf were also invited. Statistics have shown that a lot of children are facing different forms of abuse in their homes as well as schools. However children with disabilities are more prone to abuse since in most cases they fail to report as a result of their disability. Thus DZT invited an expert on child abuse cases Patience Matambo who works at Save the Children to share knowledge with the participants and help them get a better understanding on child abuse.

  • This Bulletin topics include the following:

    1. Money matters; do we care about the education of children with disabilities. 
    2. Knowledge of HIV and AIDS among young Deaf people.
    3. HIV programmes and Deaf young people.
    4. World Aids Day and Deaf people in Zimbabwe.
    5. 16 days of activism against gender based violence: is the Deaf community informed ?
    6. The importance of sign language and Deaf role models in schools teaching Deaf students.

  • The Deaf Zimbabwe Trust in its rights programme sought to access the level of access to information for the Deaf community in Zimbabwe. The Deaf community has been invisible largely due to the invisibility of Deafness and also because much focus has been on other forms of disability that are more visible to the eye. This has resulted in many of their information needs being neglected. Sen states that “Access to information and means of communication are essential for anyone to realize their rights as a citizen”. He goes on to note that “without ways to gather knowledge, express opinions and voice demands, it is impossible to obtain an education, find a job or participate in civic affairs.” This baseline study was meant to provide information for advocacy purposes and also to open the eyes of stakeholders to the information challenges faced by the Deaf community in Zimbabwe. The Deaf community in Zimbabwe have not been able to access national developments in their country which has removed their ability to fully enjoy citizenship in Zimbabwe. In ability to access information has resulted in inability for the Deaf to participate in national processes. Findings show that Deaf people in the study have not been able to enjoy freedom of expression. Freedom of expression entails the ability to receive and impart information, for the Deaf this has not been possible as sign language was not recognised as a language until 2013 when the new constitution was adopted. The non-usage of sign language has resulted in marginalisation and exclusion of the Deaf community in Zimbabwe. Freedom of expression for the Deaf community will enable them to obtain self-fulfillment, assist in making judgements about issues; it will  strengthen their capacity to participate in decision making and will enable participation in national events from an informed point of view.

    In addition, the non-usage of sign language is embedded in the lack of a legislative framework that enables the operationalization of sign language. While the new constitution provides for sign language as an official language, this alone has not helped Deaf people enjoy the right to information. For the Deaf to enjoy the right to information there has to be a targeted and intentional effort to ensure that all communications are in formats that the Deaf can understand. Findings also revealed that most Deaf people acquire sign language later in life in most cases when they start school. Most Deaf children are born to hearing parents. These parents have not knowledge of sign language which makes it very difficult for them to provide language to their children. Deaf children born in these settings use home signs which are basic and this means that they have no language. The late acquisition of their first language (sign language) makes it difficult to learn English as a second language hence the reading levels of most Deaf people are low compared to their hearing counterparts.The Central Statistics Office (2007) noted that information is important in every aspect of one’s life. It is essential to increasing people’s knowledge and awareness of what is taking place around them which affects perceptions and behaviour.

    Findings also showed that lack of access to information has negatively affected the well-being of the Deaf community in Zimbabwe. As a result of lack of access to information, multiple rights of the Deaf are affected such as the right to health, education, participation in political life, justice among others. Access to information is central to the  achievement of these rights. This report provides more detail on the extent to which the Deaf community in Zimbabwe has access to information. The project is a part of an advocacy campaign on restoring citizenship and access to information for the Deaf community in Zimbabwe.

About DZT

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust was formed and registered as a trust in 2012 and began operations in 2013. Initially the organisation was formed to advance the rights of Deaf children.

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