Judith Madi gives deaf issues attentive ear
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Johannesburg - Outgoing DeafSA Gauteng Provincial Director Judith Madi wants hearing people to be sensitive to the needs of the hearing impaired and hopes to use her new non-profit organisation to make that happen.
An avid advocate for raising awareness for the deaf community, Madi has founded Neema Foundation which is a non-profit organisation committed to empowering and creating awareness about deaf and hard-of-hearing people particularly women, youth and children.
“After faithfully serving DeafSA for 16 years, I have decided to follow my dreams by founding Neema in order to help the deaf community,” she said.
One of the programmes Madi is spearheading is the annual #SilentWalk&Run race which will taken place on September 28 at Zoo Lake, saying the event was a stepping stone to addressing deaf concerns.
September is the International Month for Deaf People and Madi said one of the ways they wish to have concerns of deaf people addressed is to ensure that major community interaction points such as banks, shopping malls, airports, hospitals and police stations are sensitive to the needs of the hearing-impaired
"I am certain with the support of the sponsors and the people of Johannesburg, we will make this year’s edition of the #Silent&Walk&Run bigger and better,” said Madi.
This year’s theme is Sign Language Rights for All and this aims to popularise South African Sign Language (SASL).
City of Joburg's MMC for Heath Dr Mpho Phaletse said the City was fully committed to ensuring that it meets the needs of those living with disabilities.
Phalatse encouraged Joburgers to support the #SilentWalk&Run.
“I wish further to thank the City’s Disability Unit and the various agencies and organisations such as the NEEMA Foundation for responding to the call to improve the lives of our people,” said Phalatse.
This year’s #SilentWalk&Run event involves both the deaf and the hearing people taking part in a 5km and 10km course featuring safety messages at regular intervals that incorporate sign language to encourage participants to learn sign language.
Other activities include deaf tennis as well as silent aerobics and dance.
Safer South Africa Foundation, CEO Riah Phiyega said their aim is to ensure the safety of the deaf community.
She said as deaf people were victims and sometimes perpetrators of crime, their Foundation wants to help them understand the workings of the criminal justice system.
"We are engaging several deaf schools to see how we can be of service to them. This makes our participation in the #SilentWalk&Run a befitting one as we will be extending our programme to people with disabilities and therefore will also be adding our voice to the call for a fully inclusive South Africa,” she said.