UNMEE Donates To
Eritrea's Hearing Impaired
Founded in 1998, the Eritrean Association for the Deaf (Erinad) is an NGO devoted to improving the lives of
people with impaired hearing. It is a member of the Finland-based World
Federation for the Deaf, and its key aim is to defend the interests of
Eritrea's hearing impaired in the spheres of education, employment,
vocational training and leisure. On Friday, 3 June, Special Representative
of the Secretary-General Legwaila Joseph Legwaila visited the offices of the Association in
downtown Asmara, where he met with Erinad
Chairman, Yonatan Gebreher
and Manager, Weldezigi Gebrekal
to whom he handed a donation from UNMEE to the Association.
There are an estimated 40,000 deaf and hearing-impaired
people in Eritrea. The country has two schools, one in Keren
and one in Asmara, which provide elementary education to the deaf. However,
as Gebrekal pointed out, adults are in dire need
of higher levels of education.
Eritrea also needs state-of-the art training in
contemporary sign language methodology, with a view to developing a sign
language in Tigrinya. "That way," Gebreher
explained, "Eritrean people can have a native sign language which
suits their own culture and traditions."
Financial support from the Ministry of Labour and Human Welfare is limited,
hence the association also depends on funding from other sources. It
receives contributions from some international NGOs in Eritrea, but these
still fall short of funding needs for its projects.
The SRSG said he was pleased to be able to make a
contribution of 16,000 Nakfa, which was raised by UNMEE staff. "We are happy that we
have been able to give you this token of our assistance," he said,
adding "we are a peacekeeping operation, but we try to do a little
more than peacekeeping by showing our host country that we are good guests
and will try and do whatever little we can, to make a difference."
(Article extracted from http://www.unmeeonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=169&Itemid=85
– March 2008)