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Old Kampala Mosque gets sign-language interpreter

Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga addresses the press with the help of a sign-languge interpreter. Old Kampala Mosque are embracing the initiative to reach everyone. FILE PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Old Kampala Mosque has secured employed a sign language interpreter to enable the hearing impaired during prayers.

In the past, the hearing impaired were never given priority leaving many stuck during Friday prayers.

Hajji Nasser Ssebugwawo, the sign language interpreter and a teacher at Uganda Society for the Deaf at Namirembe says he was inspired to start sign language after being told that many of the hearing impaired had abandoned the mosque due to the absence of interpreters.

He says that he has reached out to the hearing impaired and rallied them to start praying at the mosque.

Yusuf Muwakanyi, says that he struggled to understand whatever was being preached. He says that he was excited the moment, he saw an interpreter at the mosque and has since got the motivation to attend prayers.

According to Ssebugwawo,  between 18 to 25 people with hearing impairments attend prayers on Friday, unlike in the past when there were not more than 10.

The Muslims have been lagging behind in the use of sign language interpreters during their prayers and teaching sessions known as Darasa.

There is a great demand for interpreters in all public places to enable the accessibility of services and information for people with visual impairment in Uganda.

Statistics by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2014 report show that there are a total of 1,083,964 hearing impaired persons, making up 2.9% of Uganda’s total population. Of these, about 90% have not had access to education which means that they lack the ability to understand formal sign language.

In 2017, the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights, Uganda National Association for the deaf, Ronald Wasswa, and Josephine Namusisi sued the Attorney General over the government’s alleged failure to provide sign language Interpretation for Persons with Hearing Disabilities in state-owned health facilities and ensure that the same services are availed at privately owned health facilities.

Last week, the panel of five Constitutional Court Justices led by Justice Frederick Egonda Ntende heard the case and promised to give their decision on notice after they have examined the submissions of the petitioners and the response of the Attorney General.

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