RELIGIOUS organisations have been urged to incorporate sign language to benefit people with hearing impairment to enable them to follow Bible teachings.
This came out at a sign language assembly hosted by Jehovah’s Witnesses at the Harare Institute of Technology on 29 January 2023 where hundreds of people with hearing impairment were in attendance.
In a novel development, all the worshipping as well as the preaching were done in sign language.
Brother Michael Masara, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ regional media contact for Harare said the sign language assembly was an annual event to support hard of hearing people.
He urged religious organisations to embrace sign language so that no one would be left behind in receiving Bible teachings.
“This is a good initiative because those who are attending are benefiting. If other organisations can emulate this initiative, it would a good thing that will benefit those who cannot hear.
“The theme of this gathering is called “Friends of Peace” and it is based on Luke 10 verse 6. It mainly talks about peace.
“Most speakers are giving their lectures in sign language and most with hearing impairment who are present here have come from as far as Mutare, Kariba, Kadoma and Murehwa, among other places to receive Bible education,” Mr Masara said.
“People with hearing impairment are benefiting because if you have that condition, usually you also cannot speak. If you want to benefit from Bible education and if you go to a speaking gathering, you won’t benefit, hence the initiative to have this sign language assembly.”
He said 60 percent of people present at the gathering could not hear and speak and the remaining 40 percent had come to support their peers.
“To help them, over the years we have produced Bibles in sign language. So far we have produced the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, 1 Corinthians and Galatians in Zimbabwean sign language and our goal is to produce the whole Bible to help this group of people.”
Mr Masara said every month, they were releasing videos in sign language and also providing interactive Bible courses.