After experiencing challenges of living with disability a deaf man, Olebogeng Keipheditse, has opened a sign language school to bridge the communication gap across the country.
The 30-year old Keipheditse says he also advocates for sign language to be introduced as a compulsory subject in the country’s education curriculum.
The school that began its operation in March 2015 offers three levels of sign language certificate courses which empower and enhance one to be able to communicate effectively with deaf people.
The youthful Keipheditse says he was sponsored by the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture to create an accredited tutoring center for sign language communication. He says his school targets people of all ages who are willing to learn sign language.
Speaking through his interpreter, Keipheditse who is the only child in his family, said he was born a normal child and lost his hearing at the age of five.
“It all began as a slight illness, but worsened. I experienced ear discharges and vomited and from there I could not hear or talk anymore,” said Keipheditse.
He said that sign language should be made compulsory in Botswana, further saying the deaf often experience discriminations in different places such as schools and at work.
Keipheditse said he had long wished to have an affair with a normal person, but did not succeed because of discrimination.
“The mother of my child is deaf, but our child is fine, I intend to teach him sign language too,” he said.
For a 40 year old student who is pursuing sign language certificate qualification, Kealeboga Metlhaleng said he has no disability but developed interest in sign language while on duty.
“I am a soldier, so during the patrols we meet deaf people who are not able to express themselves due to the disability, I believe the course will ready me to be able to communicate with deaf people,” said Metlhaleng.
He said he has made friends with the deaf and his passion for sign language has grown.
The school, known as Olebogeng’s Tutoring is situated in Bontleng mall in Gaborone.