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If Lips Came With Subtitles

If Lips Came With Subtitles…

Have you ever been in a group of people and everyone is just bawling over in laughter and you just… didn’t get the joke? Now you’re left smiling awkwardly so you don’t feel like a weirdo with no sense of humour? How about going to a noisy club and trying to order a drink from the bartender but you can’t hear each other over the music. Or… how about watching an incredible movie and a scene in a foreign language comes up and they forgot to add in subtitles… imagine the frustration. 

Picture a life where everything feels like a foreign language and you always have to observe hand gestures and facial expressions to talk to anyone. You don’t get to have any subtitles or google translate when ordering coffee, asking for directions, or seeking the services of a doctor/lawyer (where you’d hope for a private conversation). And less than 1% of people around you can speak your language.

The harsh reality for 5% of the world’s population goes beyond not being able to always enjoy a party. According to a report by The World Health Organization, it is estimated that by the year 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people will have some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 million of those will require hearing rehabilitation. Having a disability can set you a few steps behind your peers in today’s fast-moving world. Approximately 15% of adults aged over 18 have a hearing disability. What is it like for these youths trying to race with or past their peers; if they are even in the race, to begin with? Because in most developing countries people with hearing disabilities oftentimes do not have access to quality education. Deaf grown-ups are less likely to be employed and when they are employed, they are given lower calibre jobs in contrast to their fully-abled counterparts. 

In most ways, many of us will never know exactly what it is to be hard at hearing. But, looking at our society, we can get a rough idea about what it likely is like.  In other ways, we do know for sure. We know that there are about 23 schools for the deaf in Kenya meant to serve a population of approximately 600,000 deaf people. We know that the deaf is more likely to be overlooked for jobs. They are more likely to encounter abuse. That they struggle to make a living in a world that has the odds stacked against them. 

What can we, as the human family, do? The deaf doesn’t want us to hold a pity party for them. They want to be heard. They deserve an inclusive society. They want us to tap into their world and tailor solutions that can accommodate them. They want us to know that they too are just as fascinating, relevant, and normal as every other human being. 

Here at Village2nation Academy, when we decided to make our classes accessible to our deaf community of learners, we realized that this is not just good for impact; it was good for business too.  It was a decision that was aligned with our innate belief that all humans should have the opportunity to grow and succeed. So, we made our online learning platform accessible to the deaf and blind and we have made our classes and resources user-friendly for both the visually and hearing impaired.  Inclusivity elevates us all, and none of us is smarter than the other. 

In honour of our community of learners with hearing impairment, we have launched an online Kenya Sign Language Program for anyone who has always wanted to be hand-fluent enough to have a conversation with a loved one, clients, or simply for its own sake.  We are thrilled to be partnering with incredible institutions of learning and seasoned sign language professionals to deliver this program that starts on November 1st ‘21. And in celebration of Deaf Awareness month, we have successfully seduced our partners into a celebratory price for all September sign-ups.

The magic that we can create when we move together as a society can never be outlived. We feel privileged to be participating in a mission that widens the possibilities available to our community. 

    6 Comments

  1. Alice Kamau
    October 11, 2021
    Reply

    This is really well written. I’ve navigated your website and I’d really like to give you guys a thumbs up, the accessibility it has to people like me is something very rare especially this side of the world.

    • Pauline Naswa
      October 12, 2021
      Reply

      Hello Alice. We are glad you enjoyed this article. Thank you for the kind words about our website. Our commitment to you and to ourselves is to deliver nothing short of the best. Stay tuned for more educative and exciting content from us!

  2. Chris
    October 12, 2021
    Reply

    Hello, do you have any classes in relation to this coming up? Thanks

  3. Moses
    October 14, 2021
    Reply

    I once dated someone who was autistic and by extension she was deaf, if I had understood her most of the time, maybe the relationship would have lasted longer. I definitely want to enroll in this class

    • Pauline Naswa
      October 14, 2021
      Reply

      Hello Moses. It is brave of you to acknowledge what you could have done for your relationship. Taking the step to learn Kenya Sign Language is leading you to the right path of self-development. We will be thrilled to ride along with you! Sign up for the Kenya Sign Language Masterclass here https://village2nation.com/courses/kenya-sign-language-masterclass/

      See you in class!

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