COVID -19, a virus that first shook the world towards the end of 2019, saw many countries and their economies shut down. Efforts to find a vaccine have been successful as the world’s best scientists worked round the clock to develop one and Persons with disabilities have not been spared by the consequences of the disease.
For instance, the deaf face a lot of challenges when it comes to communication because the government through the Ministry of health gave out guidelines to follow to contain the spread of the disease.
Among the measures included wearing of face masks, which for the deaf and hard of hearing greatly impended their communication, since they depend on sign language, a combination of hand movements and facial expressions to communicate.
The last week of September 2020, as the world marked the international deaf awareness week, Signs Media Kenya Limited was left thinking about sign language interpretation services to deaf people in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic when everyone including doctors and nurses would be covered in Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPEs)?
To help curb this communication barrier, Signs Media Kenya Limited in its effort to propagate Social, Economic, Political and Talent Development of Persons with Disabilities, to be specific the deaf, came up with assistALL a mobile phone application that will go a long way in aiding the deaf access sign language interpretation services during the pandemic and also scale the heights of development and socio-economic status post COVID-19.
This is the first app globally that seeks to provide the interpretation services to the deaf and the society at large. There are other apps that translate sign language but they are either using Artificial Intelligence or Augmented Reality to translate sign language; none have live interpreters on call.
assistALL application can be used beyond health since it is the first of its kind that is personalized for use by both the deaf and the society that interacts with them. It can be used in the education sector, legal sector in courts and police stations and even socially as its application is limitless and would help the society interact with the deaf easily.
The app that will be working 24 hours a day will enable one to get any form of sign language interpretation services wherever and whenever which will go a long way in eliminating communication barriers in hospitals etc.
assistAll app not only creates employment but also raises self-esteem for the hearing impaired.
As they get assisted, their status in society will rise and the people assisting the deaf are being paid for the service.
To install the assistALL, one visits Google Play store to register their details, create a channel and get or offer high quality interpretation services in their official sign language.
The magic of the app is; an interpreter can serve more deaf people without moving out of the house.