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Deaf community in need of recreational facility – Deaf Association

Founder of the Deaf Association of Guyana Sabine McIntosh supervises some students at the Gifted Hands Learning Centre for Special Needs as they engage in a game of chess (Photo: Marcia Smith)

A lack of funding is withholding the Deaf Association of Guyana from having a facility to carry out activities specifically catered to persons in Guyana who are Deaf.

Managing Director of the Deaf Association of Guyana Sabine McIntosh has been advocating for a recreational facility for the past few years, and hopes that recent engagements with President Irfaan Ali will bring this about soon.

Children gather for Deaf story time at the National Library, February 2019 (Photo: Sabine McIntosh)

McIntosh says that there is no space for persons who are Deaf to socialise with each other except for schools. This in turn can lead to them feeling isolated because there is no one around them that shares their experiences, and often few people outside of their families that speak sign language.

“They need a place where they can meet and discuss and make plans; and where they can do different things like drama and chess. We need a place where remedial teaching can happen. Where they can be addressed as a group. Where we can do workshops on human rights, on anything.”

The Deaf population in Guyana is widespread across the regions in small numbers. Often there are no Deaf persons in close proximity to each other within their communities.

The Deaf Association was given a space in Cumming’s Lodge for this Recreational Building and have drafted a model design but have not yet been able to finish paying for the land to start construction.

“We see this social space as a sort of multi-functional center where the Association would also have office, do research, have a research library. There would be a space where parents or whoever else in interested in learning and researching about the Deaf Community can come and meet them.”

McIntosh further noted that spaces made for the Deaf Community are especially crucial with the lack of accommodation and acceptance they may feel elsewhere.

She is also seeking government support to carry out activities and workshops, once this facility is built.


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