There are various organizations
that provide welfare services to the Deaf. Many create the impression
that they train Deaf people and help them to find work. Unfortunately
this is not true, because the training is so elementary that it does not
equip these people for any competitive job. Some of the organizations
have occupational therapy centers where handcrafts are taught and assembly
line jobs are performed. The average income Deaf people receive for these
menial jobs are about R100 ($12) per month and selling of handcrafts very much
depends on the goodwill and support of consumers.
problem originates with Deaf pupils developing a
communication barrier when
hearing teachers try to teach them according to hearing standards.
The teacher does not know how to explain in terms which
the Deaf child can understand or identify with and this creates a barrier,
because the Deaf child cannot make the teacher understand his or her different
perception. This leads to an inability to communicate properly with hearing
people. It has only become compulsory in the last three years for teachers
at a deaf school to be able to speak Sign Language.
Another great problem is that employers are reticent to
employ Deaf employees, because they don't know how to communicate with
them. The vicious circle, which started at school, is perpetuated in the
work situation, because the Deaf aren't even given an opportunity to prove
themselves, because of lack of communication.
tertiary institutions aimed at the
hearing community, surely it is essential that there be at
least one tertiary institution for the Deaf.
South Africa has 21 Universities, 15 Technicons and 129
In the past Deaf people who wanted to study at any of
these institutions depended heavily on family and good friends to help
them and only very few actually succeeded in attaining any tertiary qualifications.
Although government has generously assisted a few students
with interpreters, this would be impossible if the number of students
rises dramatically. It would cost government in the region of R6 million
per year, if for instance one hundred prospective students needed to be
provided with interpreters.
"The Department of Welfare is initiating an interdepartmental
consultative process for the transformation of sheltered workshops, aiming
at a comprehensive model for socio-economic integration of people with
disabilities. However, it is accepted that there will always be a need
for a facility for people with more severe disabilities - a responsibility
that needs to be shared by the Departments of Welfare and Health, as well
as the NGO sector.
The Department of Labour is one of the major role-players
involved in vocational rehabilitation. Persons with disabilities could
be accommodated at protective workshops run by the welfare fraternity.
The Department of Welfare has spent about R3 billion on
disability grants to nearly 500 000 people and a further amount of R130
million on social welfare services for the disabled. In 1997, a total
of 111 homes countrywide were built for persons with disabilities, with
a capacity of 6 100, as well as 179 protective workshops with a capacity
of 8 415", (SA Yearbook, 1998).
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