Hearing-impaired people seek govt help getting access to information
Hearing-impaired people in Myanmar are asking the government to help them get better access to news and information, said U Kyaw Kyaw, program director of the Myanmar Deaf Community Development Association.
The hearing-impaired community is calling on the mainstream broadcast media, including the government-run MRTV and the Ministry of Information to make their broadcasts understandable to the deaf, U Kyaw Kyaw said Tuesday at the launch of the “Ensuring Rights to Access to Information for Deaf and Hearing Impaired People Project” in Yangon.
The project, supported by USAID and the non-governmental group, fhi360, which works with those with hearing disabilities, will run through until July 2018.
The initiative will include coordination and advocacy meetings with stake holders, awareness raising and policy engagement.
“The project’s goal is to improve the conditions of access to news and media information by the hearing-impaired population in Myanmar” he said.
In Myanmar, disability is classified into four categories – physical disability, vision impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disability.
According to the 2014 Myanmar census, 4.6 percent of the country’s population over 51 million people live with a disability. Of this 1.3 percent have hearing impairment, or roughly over 650,000 people.
The government has several programmes to help hearing impaired people.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has opened more sign language classes since 2015, but this is not enough, according to U Aung Kyaw Moe, director of the Social Welfare Department.
He said the ministry has other financial needs to help other underprivileged sectors of the society, so it cannot provide all the assistance needed by deaf people.
“The right to access to information is one of the most fundamental support for the well-rounded development of hearing-impaired people,” he said.
U Kyaw Yu, a hearing-impaired person said, “Sign language is our mother language. It is the only one language to communicate with the world for us.”
He noted that although the government’s television news section has a segment that interprets reports in sign language, the screen size of the interpreter is very small, so they could not be understood clearly.
“We want to understand all TV programs, not just the news,” he said.