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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Nov 12, 2018 - 8:22:19 PM

Principal appeals for opportunities for the deaf and hearing impaired as Deaf Awareness Week launched
Nov 12, 2018 - 7:30:16 PM

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The Hon. Frankie Campbell, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, addresses the launch of Deaf Awareness Week in Rawson Square. Arnette Lunn is the interpreter.

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Sonja Rolle, Principal, Centre for the Deaf, underscored the need for hearing impaired individuals to become productive citizens of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas through employment, opportunities to express their feelings and opinions, and as a group, 'a place to call home.'

“Far too many of them face a life of unemployment or must labour as unskilled workers in jobs that offer no benefits or opportunities for advancement in this country.

“This group needs a place to call home. All of the former students here today hold in their heart only the promise of a school that they can be proud of to call their own,” said Ms. Rolle.

She presented an overview of the institution at the official launch and the Proclamation of Deaf Awareness Week in Rawson Square Saturday, November 10, 2018.  The week is recognized in The Bahamas, November 10 to 18, on the theme “My Heart, My Hands, My Voice.”

Mark Humes, MP for Fort Charlotte, speaks at the opening of Deaf Awareness Week as Kayla Rohr signs.

Deaf Awareness Week is sponsored by the Bahamas Red Cross, the Department of Education, and Centre for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired to raise awareness about communication disorders and to encourage those who suspect that they are hearing impaired to seek assistance.

In his remarks, the Hon. Frankie Campbell, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development expressed his commitment to using his voice to uplift the causes and purpose of the Centre for the Deaf, and to upholding the government’s commitment to ensuring that all persons enjoy the same rights and opportunities.

He shared some of his activities since taking over the portfolio of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development including: the approval for purchase of a $23,000 generator for the Centre for the Deaf, discussions with the University of The Bahamas regarding the transitioning of persons with disabilities from high school to tertiary education, and discussions with the Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd on scholarship opportunities for graduates of the Centre for the Deaf.

Visitors to the Bahamas on the Carnival Magic Cruise Ship were joined in the opening ceremony.

Minister Campbell said he has also been appealing to the “able-bodied” community for an increased level of sensitivity for persons with disabilities.

“Many persons wake up in the morning and because of some incident or accident, by the end of the day if they are lucky enough they go to bed with some disability.   While we are here still able-bodied, giving a particular service, let us ensure that we put in place necessary protocols -- policies and procedures first of all -- to ensure that the persons who need the service are getting it, and getting it efficiently and on time; but secondly, God forbid, should we find ourselves on the other side, we would have met in place some beautiful policies and procedures that we put in place.

“There are some disabilities that are hereditary and [that] we can’t prevent, but there are quite a few of them that we can prevent. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

He urged “able-bodied’ persons to take care of their bodies by eating, drinking and getting the necessary rest to ensure that as far as possible they are able to prevent the things that can be prevented.

DaVinci Leu-brunson, President, Bahamas Deaf Association and Hard of Hearing; the Hon. Frankie Campbell, Minister of Social Services and Urban development and Sonja Rolle, Principal, Centre for the Deaf.

Minister Campbell followed his remarks by reading the Proclamation for Deaf Awareness Week on behalf of Dr. the Most Hon. Hubert A. Minnis, Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

In his welcome, Jevonny Allen, a student at the Centre for the Deaf, said Deaf Awareness Week is about social inclusion, eliminating communication barriers for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, sharing deaf culture, teaching about deafness and sign language, celebrating their lives and highlighting their abilities.

 “It is our hearts which beat with the single desire to be respected and appreciated as leaders of our own destiny.  It is our hands that express what our hearts are feeling and our hands that speak our thoughts. It is the activities that we share with you this week that become the voice that connects us to you,” said Mr. Allen.

Students from the Centre for the Deaf are pictured with the Hon. Frankie Campbell, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development.

Mark Humes, MP for Fort Charlotte also gave remarks and representatives of Baptist Bible Church performed a selection in sign language.

At the end of the launch, there was a Junkanoo Rush-out by Barabbas & the Tribe.

Activities for Deaf Awareness Week:
  •     November 13 – Real Take. Youth Block Time. St. Michael’s Methodist Church, 7 p.m.
  •     November 14 – Talent & Fashion Show by students of the Centre for the Deaf, Stapledon School Auditorium, 6 p.m.
  •     November 15 – Culture Night, Abundant Life Bible Church, 7 p.m.
  •     November 16 – Silent Lunch, Mall at Marathon, 12 noon. Youth Focus Night, Abundant Life Bible Church, 7 p.m.
  •     November 17 – Fun Run Walk. Centre for the Deaf, 6 a.m.
  •     November 18 – Closing Service.  Abundant Life Bible Church, 11 a.m.
Jevonny Allen gives the welcome as Francine McKenzie signs.

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