International Sign Language Day is celebrated on 23rd September every year. The theme for the International Day of Sign Languages 2020 is “Sign Languages are for Everyone“. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) has issued a Global Leaders Challenge to promote the use of sign languages by local, national, and global leaders. Keeping this theme, GFF Nepal, GFF India and GFF Philippines got together to celebrate the day. During the weekend i.e. 26th and 27th September, storytelling sessions were held where GFF HELPS Philippines Local Representative, Miss Lady Peace Remaneses who is a volunteer with Deaf community in her hometown taught children an American sign language.
After the engagement the children learnt few lessons and they gave a message to a deaf lady with a sign language. Sapna Tamang – a deaf lady who worked in a restaurant was really surprised to see many kids talking to her in a sign language. She mimed ‘I am very happy and I would like to teach sign language to these kids.’
In the Philippines
People have a strong need to communicate with each other to develop effective relationships and learn about the world. Learning Sign Language is a great way to show empathy, honour and appreciation to the People with Hard of Hearing. To make the Online Storytelling participants understand the value of Sign Language in communicating with the People with Hard of Hearing, the GFF HELPS Phillippine Team conducted a 1-week Sign Language lessons in the first week of September with twenty-five children in Aklan, Philippines.
The children learnt American Sign Language Alphabet, introducing themselves, basic greetings and words. The Philippine Team recorded the video message of the children for the People with Hard of Hearing all around the world and that was interpreted as this: “Hello, friends! How are you? Always remember that we love you, we care for you and we respect you. May we always have peace and unity. Always smile and be happy. Take care always! Thank you! We love you!.
As soon as GFF HELPS Philippines uploaded the video, some people started sharing it to their Deaf friends, and a Deaf teenager named Raymund from Caloocan, Philippines shared the video with his caption: “I’m Shocked Wow! Look Hearing Yes True Good Girls Two Teach Kids To Learn Sign Language. Me Happy Video Watch” – and this was how we interpret his caption:
“Wow! I’m shocked [impressed] that these two women who can hear and speak are teaching the children to learn Sign Language. I am happy watching this video.”
The video might have a simple message and gesture but that was a powerful video to show our love and support to the people with special needs.
by Lady Peace Remaneses, Philippines Local Representative
Minket Lepcha, Nepal Local Volunteer