By Olanrewaju Akojede and Augusta Uchediunor
The Deaf Supporters Development Initiatives (DSDI), an umbrella body for welfare of the deaf, has called on governments to address discriminations, poverty and unemployment among its members.
Mr Afolabi Dahunsi, President, DSDI, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on the sideline of its 3oth anniversary celebration in Lagos on Thursday.
The theme for the anniversary was: ”Consolidating on Our Goal in All Spheres of Life and Our Nations Economic Sectors While Moving Forward in Post COVID-19 Era.”
Afolabi said that the organisation had been involved in intervention programmes aimed at ameliorating the sufferings among its members thereby calling for more supports.
“Since 1991 when we started this organisation, we have been able to guide, help and nurture many poor Deaf people to start small scale business of their choices.
“We provide life skills and vocational trainings among others.
”We have school leavers and deaf job seekers coming to our office for guidance on how best to make good use of their life and also provide counseling,” he said.
Dahunsi said that there should be a consideration or ways to address the communication gaps which often resulted in the discrimination of the deaf community in getting employment.
“The deaf are doubly disadvantaged because of lack of hearing and linguistics which has made the employers of labour not to employ many of the deaf.
“However, through advocacy, efforts and our counselling services, we have many deaf who are self-employed and they have their own businesses.
“Others are able to get employed either by government or private sectors, yet we need more people to understand our plight and help us to reduce poverty among us,” he said.
Speaking further, Dahunsi said that the COVID-19 pandemic had untold effect among its already deprived members, adding that many of the Deaf people were left in abject poverty.
“We are already discriminated against but when COVID-19 came unexpectedly, many of our members were left with nothing to fall back on.
“However, COVID-19 has also been a blessing in disguise for some of our members who are able to use the internet innovations to fend for themselves since many are now working from home.
“We now have the opportunity to tap into the digital economy provided by the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that activities at the 30th anniversary included goodwill messages, dance and drama presentations, award presentations and goodwill messages among others. (NAN)