Sustainable Dev’t: Where do Deaf people stand? – Eroku Simon

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“…The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with its #LeaveNoOneBehind is a big challenge to Deaf people and at this point when the rest of the world is talking about implementation of the 17 Goals, Deaf people are just beginning to question the Agenda and what it all means! But that is just a part of the bigger picture. ..” Simon Eroku a Deaf young man, social innovator and inclusive communications professional.

 

….Lucy is a young mother of 2 children from a small village in Lira district in the far North. Apart from the common knowledge that we have about Lucy – being one of the victims of the 3 decade war that ragged Northern Uganda, Lucy is Deaf!

There are many young people like Lucy living in this post-war community and yet to a more grave concern, their lives are still subjected to tough and relatively hard situations with limited access to education, health services, and many other government programmes because they simply cannot hear! Lucy got married off at an early age and now in her early twenties, her struggles over the years as well as the scars of war are still fresh in her.

At a momentum when the world all turns its focus on sustainable Development or say, Agenda2030 which majority of Deaf people are just hearing of for the very first time not because they want to know but because it was the theme during this Year’s International Deaf Awareness Week commemorations Sept 25th – 30th taking place in Lucy’s home town – Lira, one may be caught in awe, wondering why Deaf people are still far below the rest of community whit no knowledge about sustainable Development, how it all started and what is expected in 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with its #LeaveNoOneBehind is a big challenge to Deaf people and at this point when the rest of the world is talking about implementation of the 17 Goals and 169 targets, Deaf people are just beginning to question the Agenda and what it all means! But that just part of the bigger blur picture.

A good number of Deaf people will surely come to know what Sustainable Development is about in the next few years but how is the world outside them going to accommodate them in this Agenda? Do people like Lucy know that SDG16 has been set up to avoid more wars in future and promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable Development including providing access to justice and building effective, inclusive and accountable institutions?

The answer is a big NO! This cannot come into concession earlier than done but we may not forge the fact that there is a long way to go for the community, the local governments, NGOs, Development partners and the United Nations to create a more conducive atmosphere for Deaf people to actively influence the Sustainable Development Agenda and create the clear notion that no one has been left behind by 2030.

This now calls for a close framework for institutionalizing the sustainable Development agenda to be inclusive to not only Deaf people but also the vulnerable members of the community. From the child-mothers in our communities, Street kids, children with Disabilities to the indigenous communities around us, we have to shift gears further and propel a more inclusive approach in realizing the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Whereas a number of Sustainable Development Goals have Specific mentions on Disability the need for a diversified approach to tackling the sustainable Development agenda is very much a necessity as is the need to extend more awareness and sensitization to the rural and marginalized communities in Uganda.

Sustainable Development is just a new story to Lucy and she will need quite a time to come to understand all the Jargon and faze in the package and we are well aware that one year has already drifted off the 15 years in which we hope to realize the world we want.

We have to put more effort in making the Lucy’s out there to understand what this is all about and to help them come to the forefront so they can be able to define the success of the Sustainable Development agenda on their own.

As Antoine De Saint once said, “The time for action is now, it’s never too late to do something”

Let us come together and build the world we want, let us #LeaveNoDeafPersonBehind.

The writer is a Deaf young man, social innovator and inclusive communications professional. Reach me on [email protected]

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