- Background and context
Due to challenges facing Deaf people worldwide, World Federation of the Deaf in September 1958 launched the International Deaf Awareness Week (IDAW). This “day” later turned into a “celebration week” and is observed annually as a commemoration of this historical event. In Rwanda, International week of the Deaf was first commemorated in 2010, since then an increasing number of families of Deaf people, sign language interpreters, professionals who work with Deaf people and government officials have become aware of RNUD’s advocacy efforts and successes. Following the maiden success in 2006, IDAW has since been commemorated annually and on regional basis. Therefore the purpose of IDAW is to draw the attention of politicians, authorities, service providers, donors, development agencies and the general public to the achievements of the Deaf people and the concerns of the Deaf community in each country.
The 2014 theme “Deaf people Demand an end to exclusion”. The celebrations will be held in Nyanza District from 15th –19th, September 2014.This year’s theme is based on the fact that despite existence of many Deaf friendly laws or legislation in Rwanda and the ratification of UN Convention on the rights of PWDs (CRPD) by the government, Deaf people’s issues of concern like availability of Sign language interpreters in service Centre like schools, hospitals, courts etc. have no budget or are not a priority. As a result Deaf persons continue to be side-lined from effective participation in society development, denied their rights to access services, information and communication, access to justice and the rule of law hence the Deaf still live in abject poverty coupled with ignorance, ill health , illiteracy and which must be a parcel of any planning process.
In other words Deaf people rights are not being protected and promoted. The present development programmes are not sensitive or inclusive of Deaf people’s needs. By holding this event, it will enable the government, the citizens and Deaf people know the gaps in the planning processes. What should be done better and how should it be done. These are some of the questions the week long event will attempt to answer using various activities like debates, drama, writing competitions in schools, sports, Sign Language training and sensitization workshops about their human rights. This week will be climaxed by a marching around Nyanza town before speeches are made.
- Overall Objective :
To educate communities about the many issues the Deaf population face during everyday life, as well as to honor the history and culture of people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
- Specific Objective:
a) To differentiate between misconception and fact about Deaf, hard of hearing people and Deaf culture.
b) To understand the differences in the attitudinal approaches to being Deaf or hard of hearing by the hearing public and by Deaf or hard of hearing people themselves.
c) To become familiar with the services and resources that are available to the Deaf and hard of hearing.
Hence Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD) is pleased to invite all partners organizations and individual involved in promoting Human rights of Deaf people to this event.