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WAU - 25 Sep 2023

Miss Deaf Africa leads cleaning campaign in Wau

In celebration of the International Day of Deaf People and People with Disabilities, Josephine Kiden, the Executive Director of South Sudan National Deaf Youth and Miss Deaf Africa, launched a two-day cleaning campaign aimed at addressing the garbage disposal in Wau town.

The initiative not only seeks to improve the cleanliness of the town but also sends a powerful message about the capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Kiden, who communicated using sign language, told Radio Tamazuj on Saturday at Suq Jou that the cleaning campaign involving deaf individuals and those with physical disabilities serves as a testament that people with disabilities can actively contribute to community activities.

“I am the executive director of South Sudan National Deaf Children and Youth. I am also Miss Deaf Africa. I am very happy and grateful to be in Wau,” she said. “We are here to do some activities, the mission is to empower youth with disabilities in villages, in the states, and also we advocate for sign languages. We train them in sign language and we advocate through the government because this organization is for deaf children and youth and also the blind.”

Highlighting the significance of the International Deaf Awareness Week, Kiden elaborated on the theme for the year, stating, “The theme of this year is ‘A world where children and youth, including deaf blinds and deaf people, can sign everywhere.’”

The cleaning campaign took place in a bustling market where Kiden aimed to demonstrate the capabilities of deaf individuals.

“We came to this market to show the public that deaf people can also clean and perform tasks that others can,” she explained. “If they can see them cleaning the market, sweeping, and removing rubbish from dark corners to clean spaces, it will show them that deaf people can also contribute. Disability is not inability.”

Akuic Deng, a blind individual, emphasized the shared commitment of those with disabilities to the campaign.

“Today (Saturday), we launched a cleaning campaign in Jou market. Our goal is to do general cleaning in the market to convey to the community that we, as disabled people, can help in the community and maintain the cleanliness of our market,” she said. “We want to support our colleagues who are deaf because they are celebrating the International Day of the Deaf. We want to convey to the community that they should not view us as incapable of doing anything. We can assist in cleaning.”

Meanwhile, Lino Ungango, the director general of the Ministry of Child and Social Welfare, underscored the significance of the day in promoting the contributions of deaf individuals within the community.

“Today is the day when a group of deaf people came from Juba to launch labor work and to inform the community of Western Bahr el Ghazal that deaf individuals are valuable contributors to the community,” he stated. “They have come to initiate their labor activity in Jou market, a major market in Western Bahr el Ghazal State, to demonstrate that they are not people of no benefit but individuals who can actively contribute to the community.”

Ungango praised the leadership of the group, particularly Josephine Kiden, saying, “Their leader is a woman who cannot hear, but she can read, write, and express herself, as you have heard her voice in the news.”

He called on the community in Western Bahr el Ghazal State to recognize the importance and intelligence of deaf individuals in their community.

This cleaning initiative received support from organizations such as Amref Health Africa, United Population Fund (UNFPA), OVIC, Y+Global, and Light of the World Organization.