eDeaf, a company that aims empower the Deaf community to be business- ready, officially opened their new, state-of-the-art Training Centre in Steve Biko Road on Friday, 14 September. Through a partnership with The Jobs Fund, eDeaf aim to place 720 deaf people into jobs over the next three years.

Over 80 clients, staff and supporters attended the Greatest Showman themed launch that featured performances by Darryn Rajbal (former SA’s Got Talent Hip Hop dancer), Sibongeleni Masondo (mime artist), the eDeaf choir and five young learners from Thrive School also delighted the crowd with a beautifully signed performance of a song.

eDeaf is a deaf-owned company that provides training and employment services. Over the past eleven years eDeaf has helped over 3 000 students to gain formal training, qualifications and employment with an 80% retention rate through their partnered solutions approach. The training centre, sponsored by Naspers, includes two additional IT classrooms and a Enterprise Development space. All training on site will be conducted by deaf facilitators in South African Sign Language (SASL).

“eDeaf offers a number of courses, programmes across five main areas including wholesale and retail learnerships, adult education and training programmes, IT training and SASL training,” said eDeaf CEO, Nazereen Bhana.

“The deaf community is one of the most marginalised groups in South Africa due to the fact that they cannot communicate freely with the hearing world. As such they are often regarded as incompetent or not intelligent, and not fit to be employed. This is far from the truth,” said Bhana.

“eDeaf has grown to a staff compliment of 76 (85% of whom are deaf), and operates from five training hubs, in Johannesburg, Pretoria, the Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape,” said eDEAF COO, Jesse Kotze.

“Our growth and success is due to our holistic services approach in providing continuous support to companies who have employed deaf people,” added Kotze.

Bhana added that eDeaf has been instrumental in the development of an easily accessible SASL smart phone application that boasts just under 6 000 different SASL signs.
“The goal of this app is to bridge the communication gap between deaf and the hearing by allowing people to simply search for a word or specific phrase on any mobile device that has the free app installed,” said Nazereen. The launch was organised by Nicky Bezuidenhout (eDeaf marketing and communications manager) and Shelley Kreinacke (Protea Events) and were treated to delicious food, entertainment and a celebration of the outstanding vision and success of Nazereen Bhana (eDeaf CEO) and Jesse Kotze (eDeaf COO).