Rwanda’s sign language dictionary 80% complete, official says

As Rwanda joins the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Sign Languages, that the process to produce a new national sign language dictionary has reached the final stages, with an estimated 80 per cent of the work done, an official has said.

The dictionary, which will be the second of its kind in Rwanda, has been in the works since 2014.

The project is being jointly undertaken by National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and Rwanda National Union of the Deaf (RNUD), with support from Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).

Emmanuel Ndayisaba, the Executive Secretary of NCPD, said that the research phase ended and experts are now putting the dictionary together.

“The project is now at about 80 per cent. We went to all provinces across the country to collect data, and are now in the final phase of writing” the official said.

Today, September 23, is the annual International Day of Sign Languages, and this year’s theme is “Sign Language Rights for All”.

In Rwanda, the day is being marked in Huye District.

Sign language differs from country to country due to cultural differences.

Ndayisaba noted that the research was aimed at knowing different and common sign languages used by different people in the country, so as to come up with an inclusive dictionary.

NCPD says that the dictionary is expected to be published in June 2020.

The 2012 population and household census by the National Institute of Statistics Rwanda (NISR) revealed that there were more than 33,000 Rwandans with speaking and hearing impairments.