The Community Development Department (JAPEM) teamed up with the National Association for the Hearing-Impaired (OKP)to launch a three-day workshop on basic sign language for senior citizens at the National Service Programme (PKBN) Camp in Batu Apoi, Temburong District yesterday.
The workshop was organised in conjuction with International Day of Older Persons.
Legislative Council (LegCo) member and Penghulu of Mukim Bokok Yang Berhormat Haji Emtan bin Haji Sabtu was the guest of honour.
Deputy Permanent Secretary (Culture) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Dr Siti Norkhalbi binti Haji Wahsalfelah also attended.
Twenty-two participants from the Senior Citizens Activity Centre (PKWE) Temburong and the village consultative council of Temburong District will learn the use of hand shapes to spell alphabets and numbers; basic communication as well as participate in role-playing exercises.
According to Acting Head of the Differently-Abled Individuals at JAPEM Irnawati binti Haji Mahir, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, age should not be a barrier for senior citizens to be active in activities that contribute to the development of the country.
She said it is vital for members of PKWE to continue taking advantage of opportunities to acquire new skills. Sign language should be given more exposure to fill the communication gap between the community and the hearing impaired in sharing information, knowledge and ideas, according to JAPEM.
JAPEM hopes the workshop, that will be extended to PKWE in other districts, will raise awareness and exposure to the community on ways to communicate with the hearing-impaired. JAPEM also stressed the importance for the community to have some knowledge of sign language and use it as a life-long learning tool.
As of August, 238 individuals with hearing impairment were registered with the OKP in the country.