Despite this limitation, many talented people who changed the world have been deaf and we are celebrating them today which is World Deaf Day.
Here are three deaf world changers:
1. Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig Van Beethoven, a German pianist and renowned classical composer, is considered the most famous deaf person. Born in 1770, Beethoven lost his hearing at 26, possibly due to typhus, and by 52, he was believed to be completely deaf.
Despite this, he produced some of his most significant works, including the Ninth Symphony, Fur Elise, the Fifth Symphony, and the Moonlight Sonata. Beethoven’s deafness has not hindered his ability to communicate and perform in concerts, showcasing the resilience and potential of the deaf community.
2. Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison, born in 1847, is a renowned American inventor known for inventing the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture. Despite having hearing problems since childhood, Edison enjoyed the benefits of being deaf, which helped him concentrate on his work.
His most significant achievements include the invention of the lightbulb, which illuminated homes for hours, and the development of the electric power system for homes, businesses, and factories. Edison’s favourite invention was the phonograph used to create motion pictures, and he worked on it for 52 years.
3. Hellen Keller
At 18 months, Keller contracted ‘Brain Fever’, leaving her blind, deaf, and mute. She developed a limited communication method and created a basic sign language. Anne Sullivan, her mentor, taught her finger spelling and other communication methods. Keller became the first deafblind person to achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree, became a writer, and communicated with millions globally. She was a founding member of the first organisation to support blind adults, and she visited war veterans and blind soldiers.
Keller significantly impacted the lives of numerous disabled individuals through her empathy and activism.
KAMPALA, Jul 27 (IPS) – Every July, the disability community honors its history, accomplishments, and experiences during Disability Pride Month. One such group is the deaf community in Uganda, which makes up 3.4% of the population.
Members of the Deaf community celebrate the positive aspects of deaf culture, activism, and the pride of being Deaf, and feel value. But, we also recognize our oppression and know that we deserve better than the prevalent discrimination, exclusions and inaccessibility we regularly face.
While the inclusion of Deaf persons in organisations such as Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) , Deaf Youth Advocacy Network, and National Union of Persons with Disabilities enables us to help with some development of policies and best practices, merely having representation in consultations is not enough.
All mainstream laws, policies and services also must be accessible to Deaf persons in sign language beforehand so we can contribute and guide language and outcomes.
Too often, however, Deaf persons are excluded. For instance, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an unfortunate digital gap for over 20,000 Deaf persons who use assistive devices like smart phones to access information.
Today, generally, lack of accessible information in sign language has made online platforms, education, healthcare inaccessible for the Deaf due to non-provision of information in sign language formats.
Furthermore, the lack of adequate support services such as access to interpretation, Sexual Reproductive Health, mental health services and social protection are concerning. In policy consultations, there is no meaningful participation as 60% of deaf participants cannot comprehend the written law.
The Constitution of Uganda is the second in the world to recognize the right to sign language both within the body and under the Cultural Objective Principle XXIV (iii) of the National Directives of State Policy. Article 21(1) on equality before the law, under the law and all spheres of life is equally instrumental.
These are further operationalised under the Persons with Disability Act of 2020. Most notably under Section 6, 7, 9 and 12 on non-discrimination under provision of education and general commercial services, health and employment. Despite this plethora of legal backing, the provision of information in sign language is still lacking.
The Constitution and other relevant laws such as the Penal code Act chapter 120 laws of Uganda are similarly inaccessible in sign language therefore ignorance of law is guaranteed for deaf persons despite it being no exception to criminal liability.
There is widespread agreement around the world that governments and institutions must take proactive measures to ensure that deaf persons have equal access to mainstream policies, systems, and services.
This includes providing accessible communication, transportation, education, healthcare, employment opportunities, and other essential services. However, the law and appropriate implementation are two different things.
Furthermore, regardless of the sector, policymakers must ensure that sign language accessibility is considered from the outset of policy development and implementation. They must engage Deaf persons and their representative organizations in meaningful consultation to understand their needs, preferences, and priorities.
Policymakers must also ensure that the Deaf have equal protection under the law to engage in the policy formulation process, voice their opinions, and influence decision-making. This includes providing accessible venues, information, formats, and technologies to facilitate their participation. In the recent consultations on development of the policy guidelines for television access, I applaud Uganda Communication Commission for inviting stakeholders from the various organisations to partipate in the consultancies and ensuring accesibility to sign language.
To sum up, it is critical for a truly inclusive and accessible society that Deaf persons are involved in the decision-making processes. However, it is only feasible if policies can be understood, deaf people can actually attend meetings, and their voices are heard and taken seriously. In this Disability Pride month, let’s level the playing field and ensure that everyone can participate in meaningful ways to make a truly inclusive society.
Egwelu Timothy is a lawyer and a disability policy & inclusion consultant
Skip Bayless may have won the competition for being cancelled the quickest following a bizarre tweet in the aftermath of Damar Hamlin’s on-field cardiac arrest during the Bills clash with the Bengals.
The former ESPN commentator turned Fox presenter is no stranger to controversial quips and has made a living out of outlandish hot takes, but this latest opinion has ruffled the feathers of fans and fellow experts.
The match-up between Super Bowl contenders Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was suspended following Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse, which was later confirmed to be the result of a cardiac arrest.
Indeed, suspending games altogether is a rarity in the NFL despite the nature of the sport being the cause of some sickening head injuries, concussions and broken bones. However, a situation as severe as this has left the football world in a state of shock and the silence that fell across the Paul Brown Stadium was unsettling.
Skip Bayless is of a different opinion however, and took to Twitter to express his bafflement as to why the game had been suspended despite being built-up as one of the the heavyweight clashes in the penultimate round of the regular season.
No doubt the NFL is considering postponing the rest of this game – but how? This late in the season, a game of this magnitude is crucial to the regular-season outcome … which suddenly seems so irrelevant.
As you would expect, the tweet was met with a monumental wave of backlash from the football community, with many of the 100,000 replies labelling Bayless’ take as ‘disgusting’ while others including 12-time NBA All Star Isiah Thomas called for him to be fired from his broadcasting role.
Bayless was later forced to back-track on his comments, taking to Twitter again to apologise for what he perceived to be a misunderstanding from followers.
Despite this, many believe this could be the straw that broke the camels back for the TV personality who has a long history of bloated takes and inciting controversial talking points.
Nothing is more important than that young man’s health. That was the point of my last tweet. I’m sorry if that was misunderstood but his health is all that matters. Again, everything else is irrelevant. I prayed for him & will continue to.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said that some Nigerians have gone deaf, blind, and lost their memories with regards to all of President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements.
Adesina disclosed this in an article titled: “Buhari’s footprints from home to Diaspora,” which he shared on his official Facebook page. According to him, some Nigerians have afflicted themselves with willful blindness, deafness and amnesia just to erase the footprints of President Buhari.
“Unless you are the discerning type, listening to public discourse today, you would think the only thing happening in the country is insecurity. Yes, Nigeria has battled, and is still battling grave security issues. But it will win. As sure as night follows the day. In fact, insurgents and bandits are being put on the back foot already. Nigeria shall win.
However, the footprints of President Muhammadu Buhari are visible in many areas of our national life, and will remain indelible. At least for those who are fair, and open-minded, not those who have afflicted themselves with willful blindness, deafness and amnesia. One area where President Buhari will never be forgotten is in diaspora matters. How the country relates with its nationals abroad, taps into their skills and capacities, takes care of their needs, and generally gives them a sense of inclusion in national affairs.
In 2017, Buhari saw to the enactment of the Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (Establishment) Act, which provides for the engagement of Nigerians in diaspora in the policies, projects and participation in the development of Nigeria, and for the purpose of utilizing the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development of the country.”
“Every week, we hold the State House Press Briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team. And who was our guest last week? Hon Abike Dabiri, who had a lot to unfold, justifying why Buhari is known today as the ‘Most Loving Diaspora President’ we’ve had.
Nigeria boasts of great human resources, both at home and in diaspora. But it is one thing to have the rich resources, it’s another thing to harness them. That is what NIDCOM, with the active support of the President, is doing.
Who is a diaspora? A Nigerian who lives and works abroad, and who maintains links with the country and shows clear interest in contributing to her development in diverse ways. We are not talking of Nigerians who have ‘japa’ (to use a popular local lingo), and who have resolved to have nothing to do with motherland again. Some even stay abroad, and start throwing stones at their country, calling it all sorts of names.
In terms of financial remittances, see what our diaspora have done in the past three years. Mind you, we are talking of funds remitted through official channels, which can be tracked and recorded, and not unofficial ones.
To show the national acceptability that President Buhari has given to diaspora matters, Abia and Edo States have also set up Diaspora Commissions, and signed bills into law. We are sure making progress. From Washington to Russia, France, South Africa, Rwanda, Portugal, India, and many other countries, President Buhari has held Town Hall meetings with Nigerians resident abroad. When there were flare-ups in South Africa, Libya, Lebanon, Ukraine, and other places, he promptly brought willing Nigerians back home, not minding cost.
Truly, we have with us the Most Diaspora Friendly President, and this, among others, will stand him in good stead, when he breasts the tape in May, next year. But insecurity? Let the naysayers wait and see. Even that, will become history”
The Kaduna state government seeks help to locate the family of a deaf and dumb boy who escaped from a bandits’ camp.
A tweet from the Human Services and Social Development Kaduna says the boy was found at Mai Kirya in Birnin Gwari local government area. The tweet stated that the boy is likely to be from Zamfara state.