Deaf Education Programme

DZT advocates for the right to quality education for children who are Deaf. Educational outcomes of deaf children are poor as a result of a number of factors such as language barriers, lack of appropriate accommodations in assessments. The current education system is unfriendly and insensitive to the needs of DHH children hence their ability to realize their full potential is hampered. The classrooms are unfriendly to the needs of DHH children and no effort has been made to make them sensitive to the needs of children who are deaf.

Sign Language

Sign language is now an official language in Zimbabwe as provided for in the constitution.DZT seeks to promote the operationalization of sign language in Zimbabwe in various spheres.DZT is advocating for the use of sign language as a language of instruction in schools, the training teachers in sign language, the development of teaching materials specifically for the Deaf. DZT is teaching sign language to parents, relatives and friends of the Deaf so that they are able to communicate with the Deaf.

Access to Health Programme

Access to health for the DHH has been seen to be problematic. A major barrier to access to health has been communication with health professionals. Good communication is the bedrock of diagnosis and treatment. Lack of sign language interpreters in hospitals is a barrier to access to health care. HIV and AIDS messages have not been communicated in a way that is accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing which means inability to protect themselves.

In addition, there is a dearth of statistical information on the rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the deaf community. DZT works to ensure that the DHH have access to health information through IEC and interpreters to enhance communication as well increasing awareness of the Deaf and their needs in health care provision.

Disability and Human Rights

People who are Deaf have for long been denied human rights and therefore they have not enjoyed full citizenship in Zimbabwe. The constitution of Zimbabwe and the protocols that Zimbabwe is signatory to, provides for the rights for persons with disability in Zimbabwe. Many deaf people in Zimbabwe are denied the right to education, to be employed, to live independently in the community,to vote, to participate in sport and cultural activities, to enjoy social protection, to access justice, to choose medical treatment and to enter freely into legal commitments such as buying and selling property.

As a result of this people who are Deaf in Zimbabwe are marginalised and live in extreme poverty. People who are Deaf are entitled to exercise their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights as all hearing people. The full participation of persons who are Deaf will benefit society as their individual contributions enrich all spheres of life and this is an integral part of individuals’ and society's well-being and progress for a society for all - with or without disabilities.

Economic Empowerment

There is a causal relationship between poverty and disability as disability leads to poverty and poverty leads to disability. In order to break the cycle of poverty, economic empowerment of people who are Deaf is key. Poverty violates the fundamental rights of people who are Deaf through denial of access to employment, health care, basic necessities of life and education. For economic empowerment to be a reality for the Deaf there are a number of areas that need reform including, education, access to formal tertiary education and employment.

Research, Communications and Media

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust ensures that all its interventions are evidence based through research. In addition, research findings and all DZT work needs to be communicated in formats that are accessible to the Deaf and hearing community. This programme using various forms of media and communications will reach stakeholders about 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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