The Fiji Association of the Deaf of mandated to advocate and make awareness on behalf of our deaf members and we’re thankful t partnership through the Fiji Disables Peoples Federation, the National Council of Persons with Disabilities, the NDMO Office and the Ministry of Information that we are able to disseminate very crucial information in sign language form interpreted to allow deaf public to receive warnings as soon as it is announced.
Since the Government stands firm on disability inclusion and being a signatory to the United Convention of the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities, contact was made to Fiji Association of the Deaf before any announcement to ensure we are included in all these information space.
“Sometimes I stay at work for hours during the lockdown phase and in the case of TC Harold, we worked from the NDMO office to ensure that interpreters were present during weather updates and the major announcements”
As you are aware the challenges to any deaf person’s participation in any space is communication. We use sign language to communicate and through the advocacy and awareness in the association to those that are catalyst for change like the Director NDMO, our government of the day and those who understand that there are people in the community that cannot hear and need sign language to communicate. The progress of these exercise has enabled our members to make informed decision during TC Harold and COVID-19 phases.
The disability sector during TC Tino set up a Disability Emergency Operation Centre as a referral mechanism to the National Emergency Operation Centre. Through this EOC, we were able to reach out to our members and they were able to content us and tell us their needs.
“Through this work, I am happy to see our members feel that they are included in the response work and that we would refer to the relevant stakeholders that they want to reach”