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TRE GREAVES, tregreaves@nationnews.com

Added 25 September 2019

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Waveney Reid-Davis (left) showcasing the craftwork she and her colleague Sophia Spencer (right) of the Deaf Women’s Group made. (Picture by Krystal Hoyte.)

Members of the deaf community are pleading with Barbadians to take heed when they communicate.

That was clear on Monday as scores of deaf and hearing-impaired people articulated their opinions about key issues affecting their community, including education and unemployment.

Communicating with the assistance of interpreter Joy Hall, secretary of the Horizon Deaf Charity, Maude White, said Government needed to pay close attention to the education provided to deaf people at the Irving Wilson School.

“It starts with education. If you start at three years old and end at 18, but then come out but can’t read or write, that’s a problem . . . . We need to do better,” White said.

She was speaking at the first day of the week-long Barbados Deaf Expo at Norman Centre, Broad Street, The City, being held under the theme Sign Language For All. It is part of activities marking International Week Of The Deaf.

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Dario Nightengale pointing out that education for the deaf needed to be improved. (Picture by Krystal Hoyte.)

Entrepreneur Dario Nightengale acknowledged the issues they had with education, but suggested that more people needed to give back.

“We need the deaf school to be improved, and if the roll is diminishing, maybe the younger adults can go back and help train in some areas. It’s hard to get to university or the Barbados Community College because there are no interpreters, so we really need more specialised education,” he said.

Their sentiments were echoed by head of the recently formed Deaf Women’s Group, Waveney Reid-Davis, who told THE NATION that employers needed to treat the community better.

“Most deaf women are not working. The company may say ‘I will call and let you know’, but then they never call us and that is very sad. So I would like the Government to see that deaf ladies have the right to work. It is not fair because hearing and deaf people are equal,” she added.

During the expo, the groups displayed numerous craft items they created such as pillows, bottles, jewellery, T-shirts and artwork.

Public relations officer and one of the organisers, Dale Jones, said the aim of the event was to showcase all of the overlooked talent that could be found in the community.

“There are many talented deaf people, but some are shy and they think that people out there are not interested so I need to prove them wrong. I want hearing people to come and show that they are interested,” Jones said.

The showcase, which opens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will end on Saturday with a cooking demonstration. (TG)

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