DeafWire Edition - 1 October 2022

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps

Full DEAFWIRE videos can be seen



Cadbury promotes BSL

Cadbury, a British chocolate manufacturing company, and the National Deaf Children’s Society, NDCS, partnered up to raise awareness about Deaf culture and British Sign Language, BSL. Many hearing people don’t know how to communicate and include a Deaf person in everyday conversation. Cadbury created finger-shaped chocolate-covered biscuits as part of their campaign.

Cadbury plans to release short video clips of how to sign phrases in BSL, for example how to ask someone if they would like a cup of tea. All of their videos are captioned. The campaign is called, “For Fingers Big and Small” – it aims to encourage the nation to learn BSL.


Sign language inspires artwork

Pratigya Shakya, a Deaf artist from Nepal, incorporates sign language and his Deaf experience into his artwork to show Deaf culture, inspiration, and belonging. He works with his own hands, adding hand shapes and visualisations that represent the barriers that the Deaf community faces. His artwork spotlights communication issues Deaf people face with hearing people.

One of Pratigya’s art pieces is of a doctor placing his hand on a little boy’s forehead, thinking he has a fever when it was actually his stomach that was hurting. Pratigya also created a visual handbook to teach sign language. He drew facial expressions using eyes, ears and noses, to help hearing people learn some basic signs. Pratigya received positive feedback from the Deaf community.


International Week of Deaf People

International Week of Deaf People is celebrated annually across the world during the last full week of September. This year’s theme was, “Building Inclusive Communities for All.” In the same week, International Day of Sign Languages was celebrated with the theme, “Sign Languages Unite Us.”

Since 2016, the United Nations General Assembly recognises September 23rd as the International Day of Sign Languages. Some countries organise celebrations while others host training and workshops to raise awareness about the Deaf community and its culture. The World Federation of the Deaf said, “this event aims to unite the world, its citizens, communities and societies through shining a blue light on sign languages.”


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Queen's death impacts Deaf

September 8th 2022, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral in Scotland at the age of 96. This has deeply affected the United Kingdom as the country is mourning the monarch’s death. Elizabeth’s death has also impacted the Deaf community and many Deaf organizations have paid their tributes to Queen Elizabeth II.

The British Deaf Association released a statement in sign language saying that Her Majesty served the crown and country for more than seventy years with selfless and steadfast dedication, earning the respect and affection of the Deaf community in the UK, the Commonwealth, and around the world. The Royal Family has a historically strong association with the Deaf community. Queen Elizabeth’s mother-in-law, Princess Alice of Denmark and Greece, was Deaf from birth.


Hospital lacks sign language interpreters

The Ghana National Association of the Deaf, GNAD, called out the Ghana Health Services for the absence of sign language interpreters in government hospitals because they are denying Deaf people access to quality health care. When Deaf people face barriers in communicating with doctors or nurses, they are not able to fully explain their health conditions and end up receiving inadequate care.

Without sign language interpreters, some Deaf patients have been wrongfully diagnosed or prescribed the wrong medicine. During a workshop on drug and substance abuse prevention for the Deaf community, participants brought up the issue; some of them struggled with drug addiction because of miscommunication and abandonment. This needs to be quickly fixed to ensure the Deaf community does not feel neglected.


Projects for Deaf community

Rachel Miles and Rebekah Schumacher from the United States of America and Canada spent a few weeks in Port Vila working on several projects to support Deaf people living in Vanuatu. They are experts in sign language and education for Deaf students. They have been supporting the Ministry of Education and Training, MoET, on the creation of a digital dictionary with signs gathered from adults in each province of Vanuatu.

Rachel and Rebekah also spent two weeks at Pikinini Playtime working with their seven Deaf students and special needs teachers. This was the first time the group of Deaf children was educated together. Now they have teachers in each classroom able to sign with the Deaf students. Rachel said that this newly recorded Vanuatu Sign Language will be a gift to all the people of Vanuatu.

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