Ralston Muchoko and Fatima Karuweni
Some inmates with hearing impairments in Zimbabwe’s prisons will now be able to communicate effectively with prison officers, after undertaking a one week course in sign language at the Harare central prison.
The one-week course conducted by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services drew participants from inmates with hearing and speaking disabilities, prison officers and students who were on attachment at the institution.
A total 39 inmates, 10 prison officers and 5 students took part in the course.
Conducted under the theme “Love everyone destroy stigma” the course will forge a new path that will help communities embrace sign language and inmates with speaking and hearing disabilities.
Chairman and founder of the Sign Language Institute Douglas Mapeta, who was conducting the training, is excited and wants the training to be expanded to all prisons in Zimbabwe.
“We are leaving no one behind we are more than ready to train all inmates in Zimbabwe’s prisons,” Mapeta said
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Assistant Commissioner George Mutimbanyoka said the course equipped participants with communication skills that will not only benefit them but the country as well.
“Learning basic sign language is a necessity which has to be implemented within different prisons to make sure that education and effective communication is provided for everyone.” he said
One of the participants Emmanuel Zindoga said he had benefited from the training.
“After attending this course I am now able to communicate and understand sign language,” Zindoga said.
The programme was organised by Rebirth Correctional Services Trust, which carries out various initiatives to support the preparation of inmates for successful reintegration into society.