News

Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) knowledge for marginalized young people

1 January 2016

PEER Sri Lanka kick started a series of national training workshops on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH )  last month to create a team of well-trained peer education trainers from different parts of the country.

The workshop focused on shaping youth leaders as peer trainers and youth advocates by providing them with the technical knowledge on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

Among the peer trainers were also sign language interpreters who joined the workshop in order to build their capacity, which they wanted to effectively communicate to those with hearing difficulties.

We spoke with Prasanna Laksiri, a sign language interpreter from the Sri Lanka Central Federation for Deaf (SLCFD) to hear his thoughts on the workshop …

1.      WHY DO YOU THINK SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH TRAINING IS IMPORTANT?

As Sexual and reproductive Health is considered a taboo and sensitive topic in society, no one discusses it openly. Due to this factor, there are lots of problems which have been arising in the country among young people.

2.      HOW DID YOU PERSONALLY BENEFIT FROM THE TRAINING?

I realized that even though we have grown old there are things that we still don’t know. As a sign language interpreter I am engaged with various translation works. We are the people instrumental in giving a voice to those with hearing difficulties. There is a serious lack of opportunity to obtain knowledge and information on areas such as Sexual and reproductive Health, not only for those with hearing difficulties, but also for the general population who will become vulnerable due to their lack of knowledge.

3.      HOW DO YOU THINK INDIVIDUALS WITH HEARING DISABILITIES WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS INFORMATION?

People living with hearing difficulties are vulnerable to issues relating to their Sexual and Reproductive Health. Usually, a person with hearing difficulties does not have access to accurate information due to their lack of communication ability and I believe that every human deserves the right to accurate information and knowledge about his/her body.

As interpreters we have to intervene in cases where those with hearing difficulties have issues with regards to their body. For example: when visiting doctors or health service providers.

There is also a lot of child abuse cases reported among children with hearing difficulties and most of them are based on lack of awareness about Sexual and reproductive Health and rights.

4.      HAVE YOU PARTICIPATED IN SIMILAR WORKSHOPS IN THE PAST?

Yes, I have participated in similar workshops but it has always been as an interpreter. This was the first time I joined as a participant. Usually we don’t get the technical knowledge out of the sessions as we are doing the interpreting and focusing on the words rather than the knowledge.

5.      HOW DO YOU PLAN TO PASS ON THE KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS ACQUIRED DURING THIS WORKSHOP?

The agencies we are working with have a strong youth group. These groups can be empowered on Sexual and reproductive Health and motivated to spread the knowledge among their peers networks and themselves.