Muscat: People with hearing disabilities in Oman should be accepted more in society and they themselves should also be aware of the ways in which they can improve their lives.
This message was disseminated by the organisers of an exhibition dedicated to the deaf or people with hearing disabilities in Oman, which was organised at the Muscat Grand Mall from April 21 to 23.
At the exhibition, several services offered for the deaf in Oman are being showcased, including by the Al Amal School for the Deaf, the Al Amal Club, the Oman Association for the Hearing Impaired, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Manpower and The Research Council.
Salima Al Shuaibi, an English teacher at the Al Amal School for the Deaf, told the Times of Oman (TOO) that the exhibition, organised as part of the Arab Week for the Deaf held from April 20 to 27, is an annual event which focuses on imparting awareness to the public on the situation of the deaf, as well as making a presentation of services for deaf people in Oman.
“Deaf people are part of society and they can do things well, but they just need your support. They are part of you,” she said.
Al Shuaibi said the exhibition also aims to make deaf people aware of their possibilities.
“To the deaf we want to say: do not make your life too difficult, you can do it, you can be a successful person. If you have the desire, you can do everything,” she said.
Al Shuaibi said deaf people in Oman need more support. “When students leave our school, they can’t find a place to continue their studies. There is only one college in Oman that accepts these types of student. They have to go to this college even if they don’t want to,” she said.
She added that there is also a lack of specialised staff in Oman, who can deaf students how to use sign language and that their training should be improved.
Another problem deaf people in Oman are facing is the lack of employment. “They are not trusted that much. So this is what we want to say to the society: just place some trust in them and they will be able to excel,” she said.
Mohammed Amin, who trains a basketball team at the Al Amal Club, said in addition to showing the public that deaf people can be successful; he hoped they would find more work. “If you don’t have a good life, it will affect your sporting life as well,” he said.
Humaid Al Aamri, a board member of the Oman Association for the Hearing Impaired, told TOO that deaf people in Oman are facing issues because sign language is not being used enough. “The society has to learn sign language, in order to communicate with them,” she said. He added that there are around 5,000 deaf people in Oman. “But probably, this number is higher,” he said.
A couple of films shown at the exhibition portray the success of deaf people, like one about the first basketball team for the deaf in the Gulf, trained by the Al Amal Club, and another about a deaf Omani who got a scholarship with other Omani students to study in Jordan to become a teacher for deaf students in Oman.