The newly elected President of Gambia Association of Deaf and
Heard of Hearing (GADHOH) has said that deaf people’s rights are
are being violated across the country.

Binta Badjie expressed concerns over the numerous challenges confronting deaf people and pledged to design strategies towards addressing the needs of deaf people.

Speaking in an interview with Gambiana at the GADHOH Head Office in Kanifing on October 12, 2019, Ms Badjie unveiled her plans for GADHOH and the deaf community.

“I want to consolidate the developments that have taken place, by reviewing the existing policies, with a view to address the rights of
deaf women in particular, and to have enough sign Language
Interpreters in The Gambia.

“I will partner with hospitals and the Gambia Nurses Association to
make sure deaf people have confidence in doctors’ treatments. This is because deaf people face challenges in hospitals due to language barriers. We will organise training for doctors and nurses to foster communication and understanding with their deaf patients.

“We will visit health training institutions, to talk to incoming
nurses about providing efficient health care service for deaf people.

“We will advocate for recognition of Sign Language and access for sign
language, especially for pregnant deaf women and deaf children,” she

Ms Badjie said the education system is not accessible to deaf people,
as there are only two main schools for the deaf in The Gambia located
at Kanifing and Brikama.

“Access to secondary and tertiary education is the biggest challenge
as most schools lack facilities to accommodate deaf students.

“Health and communication are challenges because doctors often give wrong prescription to deaf patients due to language barriers,” she said.

The Gadhoh President further asserted: “We also learn that deaf people are not accessing relevant information. We will therefore take it up with the Ministry of Information, as well to meet relevant government
institutions to ensure that the issue is sorted out.”

Ms Badjie said employment is also another challenge connected to
education, noting that deaf people lack quality education and end up
being labourers or offered low salaries, and have their rights
violated at work places.

She said some are paid every three months while most of them go without employment benefits such as social security.

The president said as someone with good experience in lobbying and advocacy, she will prioritise to meet employers and companies, and make head counts of deaf employees, to sensitise company and business owners to ensure and guarantee deaf peoples’ rights in work places.

“Deaf people are also employers and we will be sensitised by them with
a view to improve working conditions for their fellow deaf people,” she

Ms Badjie was a student at St. John School for the Deaf, and proceeded
to mainstream school at Nusrat Senior Secondary School from 2008 to 2011.

“The integration process was not perfect and I had to struggle
to complete my schooling,” she said.

She thereafter was admitted to the American International University
where she studied an undergraduate degree in Human Resource and Labour Management from
January 2015 to May 2019.

She co-founded Gambian Deaf Women’s Society and through the
organisation she established the first ever deaf owned restaurant in
The Gambia employing only deaf women.

Ms Badjie was among the 7 out of 350 applicants selected for the 2019
Mandela Washington Fellowship in the USA.

The new Gadhoh President concluded that deaf people are very talented and all they need is support.

“They are human beings and can do what others can do. People are diverse, and as leaders we have to bring people together to work together for a better society.

“We need to serve as good role models for the future
generations because we know that young people are looking up to us,”
she said.

By Madi S. Njie

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