The National Association of the Deaf deplores only one school for the Deaf.

At the end of the second forum of the WCARS project held from 8 to 12 April 2019 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, a study visit for stakeholders was organized by the WCARS project. It was in fact a workshop on the situation of Deaf people in Côte d'Ivoire. This meeting took place on 12 April 2019 at the headquarters of the Federation for the Promotion of Associations of Disabled Persons of Côte d'Ivoire (FAHCI) in Abidjan.

This meeting initiated by the WCARS project was attended by representatives of the Association of the Deaf from Denmark, Ghana, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire on the one hand and representatives of FAHCI and the Ivorian media on the other hand. The FAHCI President, also former Secretary of State, Mr. Raphaël Dogo deplored the existence of only one school for the Deaf in Cote d'Ivoire. The structure is located in the Yopougon district in Abidjan.

Unlike Ghana where there are sixteen (16) schools for the Deaf, the FAHCI President, pleaded for the State of Cote d'Ivoire to deal with the case of the Deaf. "The needs of the Deaf are not taken into account. The Ivorian government grants 152 million CFA ('231,707) to subsidise associations for the disabled. In practice, this amount is not entirely collected by the associations. People set up fictitious associations to receive funds. Capacity building for the Deaf must continue. Theoretically, the government is doing good things. The state is taking action but it has to be said that there is no follow-up," he said, welcoming the initiative of RTI television, which for more than 15 years has had a sign language interpreter to translate television news into sign language to enable deaf people to follow the news.

The deaf community in Côte d'Ivoire feels marginalised. Left to their own devices, members of the deaf community would like the State and organisations working in the field of disability to pay more attention to their living conditions. Ouattara Yéguéléworo, president of the National Association of the Deaf in Côte d'Ivoire (ANASOCI), deplored the lack of local support for the association. Convinced that one of the main difficulties of the association remains the lack of local support, the main leader of ANASOCI pleaded for the state and NGOs to come to their aid. "At the local level, we have no support. It is at the international level that we get support from people like the Danish Association of the Deaf and DANIDA, which is an organisation for people with disabilities in Denmark. One of the main challenges we face is the lack of local support. We draw the government's attention to local support," he explained.

Emmanuel Sackey, from the World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for West and Central Africa, said, "In Côte d'Ivoire, there is a problem of employability for the Deaf. Deaf people do not have access to information. If at least at the government level, a Sign language interpreter could be recruited to inform Deaf people, this would be a commendable support. In Ghana we don't have this problem anymore," he said.

Let us hope that the cry of despair from ANASOCI and FAHCI will be heard.

source: Ablavi Dzikumai 2, 2019

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