DSD FREE STATE, PROVINCIAL OFFICE HOST SIGN LANGUAGE TRAINING

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By Masilonyane Ramookho

FS DSD Graphic designer

  • The Department of Social Development Free State, hosted sign language training for staff in partnership with the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB).
  • The training aimed to improve communication with deaf or hard-of-hearing colleagues and community members.
  • Participants learned basic sign language skills and gained a better understanding of disability inclusion in the workplace and community.

Officials from different directorates attended in large numbers at the Old Standard Bank Building, the DSD Provincial Building, in response to a positive initiative by the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) and the Special Needs Directorate.

The training served as a refresher for those who had attended previous sign language courses and also raised awareness about disability inclusion in the workplace and surrounding communities.

Mr Makappa, the Provincial Manager responsible for the Persons with Disabilities section, introduced everyone and explained the purpose of the training delivered by PANSALB. Ms Nikiwe Matebula from PANSALB reiterated that all officials should learn sign language to improve communication, similar to learning other languages. She also clarified that the department and PANSALB have a responsibility to accommodate all disabled persons at work and in their communities. This is why they came to the Department to train the officials on sign language and South Africa’s other 11 official languages.

Ms Matabane facilitated the training with exceptional sign language skills. She explained the essential basics that one needs to learn before becoming proficient in the language. The training included team activities and one-on-one sessions for better understanding and practice. “You will learn more as you practice,” Ms Matabane said. “Please make an effort to accept, greet, engage with, and live alongside people with hearing impairments. They need to feel safe and valued at work and in their communities.”

The training concluded on a positive and enthusiastic note. Mr Daniel Mofokeng and Ms Elisa Mokhethi (DSD officials) spoke about the eye-opening challenges they face at the department. The Acting Director, Ms Maki Qamkana, closed the training, highlighting that she would take all officials’ concerns into consideration and report them to DSD management.

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