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We Are Happy That Sign Language Is Getting Recognition - Mr. Opori Jonan, Sign Language Interpreter

Pioneer and board member of the Uganda National Association of Sign Language Interpreters (UNASLI) Mr. Opori Jonan is confident that sign language in Uganda is getting recognised and currently presents potential employment opportunities.

On a phone interview with RX Radio’s Crystal Newman on The Groove Cafe, Mr. Opori was happy to inform that sign language is now a full profession and it is getting all the required recognition.

He said that sign language interpreters get trained from Kyambogo University and are affiliated to the UNASLI which subscribes to the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) and The African Association of Sign Language Interpreters (AASLI).

Through Advocacy and close relations with the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) and National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), there has been significant awareness about sign language which is now also included in the Persons with Disabilities Act that recognizes sign language interpretation as a profession.

“Sign language itself is recognized in Uganda as one of the country’s languages and moving forward, it might have to be taught in secondary schools. At the beginning, people weren't fully interacting with the deaf people but we are glad that now the community has become responsive,” he said.

“Today, you see that UCC has come on board to have sign language interpreters on television and we are happy that it has been recognized and now our work is to popularize sign language interpretation as a profession. We need people to come and pursue it as a course at the University. Because it's still a virgin area, there’s still manpower required.” Mr. Opori explained further.

Having served as a sign language interpreter since 2000, Mr. Opori is grateful for having joined the profession in which he has worked with a number of media institutions such as the then WBS television, UBC, Uganda Media Center (UMC) and one who is happy to have found love in the disability movement

“I happened to get myself a very beautiful lady and we are now having our two sons,” he said happily. Mr. Opori says that through sensitization, the UNASLI hopes to popularize sign language interpretation and help the public appreciate it.

“We need to get people to understand that we are not doing sign language interpretation for charity but people with disability are part of us and as I mentioned earlier, I am a proud husband to a woman who has a personal disability but I've chosen to take her as a wife because I don't look at her as someone with a disability but her ability and that's what we are pushing for. There is need for us to recognize them as our sisters, brothers, and parents,” Mr. Opori requested.

The Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5pm on RX Radio.

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