Trust: Deaf people most affected by load shedding

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

MOST people with hearing impairments in the country are suffering in silence as they can nolonger communicate or socialise in the darkness as power shortages continue throughout the country, the Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) said.

DZT programmes assistant, Merlen Chamutinya told this past week that students with hearing impairments were also failing to prepare for their end of term examinations.

In Sign Language, facial features are very important as they have lots of information.

“Sign Language is visual and the moment it gets dark, communication becomes a major challenge as load shedding continues unabated,” Chamutinya said.

“Being in the dark is one of the most difficult and hardest situations for a deaf person. When power goes, we can use candles but the light is not clear enough.

“This is despite some of the communication challenges we experienced at most service centres during the day, which do not have skilled people to communicate with people who have hearing impairments resulting in them failing to access essential services.

“The 18 hours (load shedding periods) is really affecting us deaf people. We want to be able to communicate and socialise at night but it’s hard for us.”

Chamutinya added that other sources of power are beyond the reach of many and were, thus, no easier option.

“Other power sources such as candles and solar are so expensive and that has even affected other sources of communication such as mobile phones,” she said.

“We can’t even charge our phones to at least send messages in case of emergency.

“And just imagine students are preparing for end of term examinations, and this is supposed to be done during the night.

“Going to bed early has now become the order of the day.”

Most parts of Zimbabwe are experiencing 18 hour power cuts due to a crippling electricity crisis affecting the troubled country.