a workshop to harmonize sign language throughout

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the sign language used by the deaf, dumb and hard of hearing is currently the subject of intensive work by experts, interpreters and teachers from several provinces in the country. Called to Kinshasa by the Ministry of Disability, they must meet for thirty days to agree on a glossary of signs to be used so that there will be a unified strategy throughout the country.

From our Kinshasa correspondent,Pascal Mulegwa

“The teachers are there, everyone is deaf. The room is narrow, about twenty experts are participating in a hot debate, Raphaël Masirika is one of the few who speaks.

►Read also: The difficult care of deaf and dumb children in West Africa

“Here we work with the deaf to harmonize sign language. It has been several years since the language developed from East to West. There were signs that we used differently, ”he explains.

Some nuances are important. “For example, we have just given the sign on the surface. With us, we draw an S on the space, but here an S on the palm. This is the new sign that we have just learned after an agreement between the interpreters from East and West “, testifies Luc Zangu, teacher from Ituri.

Go beyond the coordination “There are other signs that we, the interpreters, we invent, but they do not understand, especially not in politics”, specifies Pauline Kande Kaboku, interpreter at Congolese National Radio Television (RTNC).

For Professor Ronsard Kasanza, we must go beyond coordination to stop the stigma of a society that has long been marginalized. “We hope that this work will also lead to the establishment of the National Interpreting Council, so that these interpreters are assigned bodies, in places and are like people in charge of the state,” he appreciates.

According to some studies, the DRC now has more than two million people with hearing loss.


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