Zambian teen teaches climate change lessons through sign language

An 18-year-old Zambian teen is helping spread the word about climate change using sign language.

Bridget Chanda, a double amputee interprets lessons at a school where special needs students attend classes with other regular pupils. She attests to learning sign language through self-initiative.

“When I came, it was challenging for me, because by then I never knew sign language. So like it was very difficult for me to communicate with them. But as time goes on, I discovered I just have to know sign language so that I can be helping them in one or two things,” said Bridget Chanda, a sign language interpreter and pupil.

This climate change activist and agripreneur Elizabeth Motale has also been at the centre of this initiative to save the planet. She said that Chanda has been so helpful in spreading the word to the special needy students. This has, in turn, helped shape minds in the school.

“I deliver these sessions to my community members about climate change. Whenever they faced challenges in terms of rainfall, I taught them how to reserve water so that they could use [it] at that particular moment. I faced some challenges in terms of signing for them, but Bridget usually helps me when I’m delivering sessions. She usually signs for them,” said Elizabeth Motale, a climate change activist/Agripreneur.

Sign language isn’t recognized as an official language in Zambia, but the government has taken steps to ensure its recognition and has made it mandatory for climate change education to also be taught in sign language.

“We still have some teething problems as we improve on how to deliver and cater for the special needs, especially in the hearing in terms of how we correctly deliver this information without diluting the context. And also we’ve got areas where you might have people with special needs, but no one there to really interpret that information, especially at the community level,” said Helena Chandwe, a campaign for female education, enterprise development manager.

As the southern African nation has suffered from more frequent extreme weather, including its current severe drought, it’s prompted the Zambian government to include more climate change education in its school curriculum.

Source: AfricaNews

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