By Madiba Singhateh.
Gambia Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GADHOH) on Saturday, 9 April, 2016, elected a new executive during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the President Awards Scheme in Bakau.
The new executive comprises Abdoulie Njie as President, Fatoumata Balajo as Vice President, Siaka Jammeh as Secretary and Ndey Ceesay as Treasurer.
GADHOH is an association of the deaf and hard of hearing which seeks to empower them to have a strong and positive identity and to act on equal basis with hearing people in the Gambian Society.
Before the election of the executive members, the financial statement of GADHOH for the year ended December 2015 was presented to the delegates by Mr. Renner, the Auditor, who noted that it complied with the project cooperation agreement and the disclosure requirements of the Gambian regulation and international standards.
Dodou Loum, the Director of GADHOH, in his report, said over 1700 deaf and hard of hearing Gambians are increasingly relying on the use of the Gambian sign language instead of verbal and other forms of communication.
“Communication and interaction between deaf persons has increased. Mobile telephone and internet are used by an increasing number of deaf people in the urban areas,” he revealed.
Mr Loum said the sign language interpreters are now allowed to interpret for the deaf people in meetings with government departments, civil society organizations and the private sector, adding that sign language interpreters are paid allowances during such meetings.
The GADHOH Director said more deaf people are becoming aware of their rights and that the level of this awareness is also increasing. He added that their self-confidence and identity as deaf persons is spreading among deaf people across the country.
He said one of their objectives is the training of the deaf trainers (TOTs) at different places in all the regions such as Basse, Janjanbureh, Brikama, Kaur Kerewan Barra, Bwiam, Soma, Basamg, and Farafenni.
The GADHOH Director said all the trainers are working at their intended posts as each branch committee will be met and informed about the changes from the beginning of 2017.
Mr. Loum, on their short term objectives, said they want to increase GADHOH membership, improve relationship with external and internal environments, improve human resource, including management skills and competence, and working with both national and international partners.