By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Association for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) has urged the government to recognise sign language as an official language.
The advocacy group made the call while observing the International Week of the Deaf and International Sign Language, which is celebrated all over the world.
The group celebrated the day at its Kanifing office conference through a media briefing meant to send a message to the government regarding their plight and concerns.
Lamin Ceesay, development officer at GADHOH, urged the government to try and support the deaf and hard of hearing association.
Ceesay said the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in The Gambia has not been receiving enough support from the government before, but that has changed significantly. He said what they want now is for the government to recognise sign language.
“We want the government to come and partner with us to create more awareness in this area. Recently, we have heard that the president of South Africa has endorsed sign language as the 12th national language in South Africa. We want the same thing to happen in The Gambia. We want President Barrow to do the same thing,” he added.
He called on the government to create a special budget for the deaf and hard of hearing.
“This can be allocated to the ministry of basic or higher education. We want the government to support us right now. We are really struggling. Sometime our members will go to the hospital and struggle to access the right medication because there is no sign language specialist in our hospitals,” he said.