By Nelson Manneh

The Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH), yesterday held a press briefing on their ongoing projects and achievements made in the past few months especially the development work. The most successful project undertaken according to them, is the repairing of their hole water supply system which cost the donors about forty five thousand dalasis (D45,000).

Speaking at the conference, the Executive Director Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) Dodou Loum said the repairing of the said bore hole started when some of their counter parts met a Dutch couple Allen Johnson and Ms. Renatta, who are said to be working with a Holland based charity organization ‘’Good for The Gambia’’ which is actually operating in the Gambia.  According to the Executive Director, the couple together with their Gambian project coordinator Morr Touray, were later accompanied to their headquarters. “Upon their arrival, we explained to them our vision and mission, and some of our goals, objectives, strategies as well as the difficulties which we are encountering in our department,’’ he explains.

The executive director added that after explaining all their constraints to them, the counterparts later assured them of their support to repair their bore hole. He expressed gratitude to the charity for the work done and appeals for them to continue partnering in deaf development process towards the full realization of the human rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the Gambia.

Another constraint that the GADHOH is facing according to the Executive director is the development of sign language and learning materials which will enhance their smooth operation. “As we all know sign language is like any other language, we have about 1955 members across the country and 12 regional headquarters,’’ he noted. Mr. Loum asserted that they depend mainly on external funds which when cut off, affects them a lot. He also appealed to the government to take care of the training of their sign language interpreters and also employ their products. “The deaf must be considered part of the society and help to contribute immensely towards the development of the nation. They should not be marginalized as they are part of us. Sometimes important messages are passed in the state media but the deaf does not benefit from it which should not be done,’’ he lamented.

Moor Touray, project coordinator, for his part said their donors are always ready to help such associations. He said they help many institutions and schools in the Gambia. He assured GADHOH of their support whenever the need arises. “We are looking for other planned projects and by the grace of God we will come to your aid,” he noted.

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