Did you ever wonder that a whole week could be dedicated for establishing the rights of a community? If the answer is no. Let us share some information and decide it yourself.
History of International Week of the Deaf
International week of the deaf is the last week of September every year. The week was declared as the International Week of the deaf by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), which was established in 1951, originally declared last Sunday of September as the international day of the deaf. Later it was extended to a week. The International Week of the Deaf (IWDeaf) was recognized and first celebrated by the WFD in 1958. The resolution was passed through a permanent mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations. The request was originally made by WFD.
UN declared 23rd September as an International Day of Sign Languages on 19th December 2017. IDSL was celebrated for the first time in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.
This week is celebrated with the participation and involvement of various stakeholders, families, peers, government bodies, professional sign language interpreters and Disabled Person Organizations (DPO).
Significance of International Week of the Deaf
The week is celebrated to share and promote certain deeds of the audibly impaired individuals. Below are a few of them.
1. Reflect unity of community all over the world
2. Promotion of rights
3. Glance about Individual struggles.
4. Promotion of inclusiveness and learning about different communities
5. Prompting discussions about different issues.
6. Involvement of stakeholders
7. Accomplishments of the community members.
Significance of rights as per days
There is a reason why this week is dedicated for the rights of sign language. Let us look at the significance of each day.
23rd September for Sign Language Rights for All!
The right states every individual with hearing impairment have the right to get educated and be a part of a community through communication and realize their rights as human beings. It also states that national sign Languages must be recognized for the inclusion of deaf people in implementing and achieving the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The government is required to support the individuals to have bilingual education by professional and trained sign language interpreters.
24th September dedicated to Sign Language Rights for All Children
This right throws light on the basic linguistic rights of deaf children, which are to get educated through state-funded sign language training by native-level proficiency professionals. The children must be surrounded by deaf peers and adult role models to develop culture and identity.
25th September dedicated to Sign Language Rights for Deaf Senior Citizens
The right states that public authorities must ensure all information must be accessible to deaf senior citizens' living in nursing homes and care centres in national sign language, and the service providers must have fluent sign language skills to provide equal opportunities to deal with senior citizens as others.
26th September dedicated to Sign Language Rights for Deafblind people
Deafblind people have equal rights to participate in society, therefore to ensure equality, state-funded sign language interpreter services must be provided.
27th September dedicated to Sign Language Rights for Deaf Women
This right states that the national government must take measures to ensure full advancement, empowerment and equal participation of women in every field.
28th September dedicated to Sign Language Rights for Deaf LGBTIQA+
This right is to remove the seed of discrimination from society regarding the deaf LGBTIQA+ and set equal standards like everyone else by learning sign language and having fulfilling lives.
29th September dedicated to Sign Language Rights for Deaf Refugees
This right states that deaf refugees must benefit from fundamental rights to receive information in sign language and thereby receive healthcare and social services on an equal basis.
What is Sign language?
It is the mode of communication between a sender and receiver where a message is conveyed through visual gestures and signs. There are approximately 300 types of sign Languages in the world. The classification is based on facial expressions, gestures and body language. Let's learn about a few sign languages. Sign Language is used by imperfect individuals and people associated with them like relatives and language interpreters. Different regions have different dialects and colloquialisms. Let's look at a few of the sign Languages used.
British Sign Language (BSL)This language was recognized as the official minority language in 2003 by the government of the United Kingdom. It is mostly used in the UK. This language is a part of BANZSL. BANZSL comprises Australian Sign Language (Auslan) and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). It is designed with consideration of beliefs, behaviours, art, history and values. BSL video interpreters with an experience of various regional signs catalyze the businesses by sharing product and service information to the primary sign language users. It is best to have expert interpreters for the best communication regarding all sorts of information to the community.
Australian Sign Language (Auslan)
It is closely related to British Sign Language and New Zealand Sign Language, hence a part of BANZSL. It uses a two-handed alphabet.
American Sign Language (ASL)
It is a sign language that uses a one-handed alphabet for communication.
Chinese Sign Language (CSL)
This language uses a one-handed alphabet. These usually represent written characteristics of Chinese characters.
Irish Sign Language (ISL)
This language is closely related to French sign language. It is used in all deaf communities of Ireland.
Japanese Sign Language
This language uses fingerspelling as well as actual drawings of Japanese characters.
Spanish Sign Language(SSL)
It is used all over Spain except Catalonia, which uses Catalan sign language, and Valencia uses Valencian sign language.
India-Pakistan Sign Language
It is a sign language used by the deaf community in South Asia. Most of the recognized sign languages were initially local sign Languages. These were later developed and recognized by the government. Also, the community uses other methods such as lip readers, speech to text reporters, and palantypists as per their convenience. The best way to learn sign language is to take a course with a certified sign language tutor. The course can be learnt online. Also, it is promoted in a few educational institutions.
Thanks to the technological development in the world, most hospitals screen newborn babies before discharging, which allows parents to take necessary steps as per the child's hearing condition.
Celebrations Over the World
Everyone can share their part in contributing to the promotion of rights of the deaf community and the social responsibilities of everyone towards the community. The week is filled with promotion activities regarding sign language, accomplishments of the deaf community, struggles and their rights. The activities may occur in educational institutions, charitable organizations, or the general public for campaigning. One can also learn sign language and make friends with people of the deaf community.
Some Interesting Facts
- As per WHO statistics, over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to negligence of ear care.
- WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss leads to an annual global cost of US$ 980 billion
- As per WHO statistics, by 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people are projected to have hearing loss to some extent, and at least 700 million will require hearing rehabilitation.
- Aural rehabilitation is a process involving the identification of strengths and weaknesses of a deaf individual and thereby optimizing their ability to participate in activities that are affected by hearing loss.