Dictionary for the deaf

Barry De Klerk
Barry de Klerk – A sign language dictionary is currently being development to help Namibians communicate with those who are deaf.

The project already began in 2002 and was initiated by the Namibia National Association of the Deaf (NNAD). As part of the project, signs were collected from deaf people and in this way 1146 signs have been added to the dictionary.

The dictionary will help teachers and learners in schools, to make lessons for inclusive for deaf people. They will also be used at resources centres while parents of deaf children will be able to use it.

“Deaf people may know a sign, but not the written word. Also, signs may differ from region to region. The dictionary will enable uniformity,” said Daniella Grünewald, vice president and project of the Rotaract Club of Windhoek.

The Rotaract Club of Windhoek has been working closely with NNAD to push the production of the dictionary. The NNAD also enjoys support from the Finnish Association of the Deaf that sponsored the development of the dictionary and trained NNAD members.

The University of Dar Es Salaam provided technical support through the Tanzania Project and the Tanzania Association of the Deaf.

“However, the dictionary can only be completed once sufficient money has been collected,” Grünewald said.

The Rotaract Club recently hosted the Dollar 4 Sign Fundraiser to raise money for the production of the dictionaries. They collaborated with Ashwyn-The Performer, Sean K, Sascha from the Moon Goddess Dance Studio, Fusion Funk Dance Studio and Evolve Fire and Entertainment. These artists showcased their talents to raise funds at the event.

According to Grünewald , the event unfortunately had a low attendance and not enough money was raised. However, this won't get them down and consequently they are in the process of organising another event.