THE Deaf Arts National Culture Entertainment (Dance) has raised concern over the challenges its members are facing in accessing healthcare in Zimbabwe.

The organisation identified some of the challenges as shortages of interpreters whenever they visit healthcare centres.

Dance projects manager Tsungirirai Tsikira said rigorous efforts must be made to deal with the challenges facing the hearing impaired community.

She was speaking as Dance prepares for its third show in Bulawayo and fifth in Zimbabwe with the stage production expected to amplify an awareness message and advocacy for the challenges the hearing impaired community faces at healthcare facilities.

“Our project is called The Silent Stage because what we say from the stage you will not be hearing anything and the only thing that you will hear will be voices of the interpreters seated in the audience,” Tsikira said.

“The programme that we are running is called Celebrating deaf culture: A journey of theatrical inclusion and empowerment. It is about empowering the deaf community through theatre and it is a first in Zimbabwe to have a deaf drama group.”

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The production will be spreading the message through a performance so that others can understand the challenges the deaf community faces.

“Through powerful storytelling and compelling performances, the production sheds light on the profound impact of interpreter shortages on accessibility and understanding in healthcare.

“This is made possible through the help of sign language interpreters who will be voicing everything that will be said on stage.

“With each performance, the team behind The Missing Bridge demonstrates an unwavering commitment to fostering empathy and understanding for deaf individuals’ experiences.”

Tsikira said recent engagements at prestigious events such as the Shangano Arts Festival in Hwange and the heartfelt reception in Beitbridge had reinforced the importance of the ongoing dialogue.

Tsikira said they were thrilled to see the impact The Missing Bridge had during the tour of Zimbabwe.

“Our journey has been one of growth and impact, and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing these important stories with audiences across the country,” she said.

Dance will be taking its production to the Midlands province as it spreads the message across the country.

“Looking ahead, The Missing Bridge has set its sights on Gweru for its next stop towards the end of May. With the support of Culture Fund CreativeActions2 and the EU delegation to Zimbabwe, the production remains committed to its mission of provoking thought and inspiring action towards a more inclusive society,” she added.