The International Week of the Deaf People (IWDP) is celebrated annually by the global Deaf Community during the last full week of September. The timing pays homage to the first ever World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf in 1958.
(Featured image: a young boy is wearing a piece of hearing aid and he is facing a lady in the background who is teaching him sign language.)
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-profit and non-governmental organisation of deaf associations from 133 countries. It has a consultative status in the United Nations and is a founding member of the International Disability Alliance (IDA). The WFD works to ensure deaf people across the globe are equipped with the knowledge, tools and strategies to advocate for, achieve and defend their rights including:
- Gaining recognition and respect for their own sign languages and cultures
- Maintaining their organisations and activities
- Achieving their rights across all areas of life, including equal opportunity and accessibility
Here’s a brief video about IWDP beautifully signed by Dr. Joseph J. Murray, WFD President:
The WFD celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and the organisation held a series of webinars and events to commemorate IWDP. As part of a live event on September 23, WFD unveiled a statue of Vittorio Leralla, WFD’s first president, in Roma, Italy.
You may also be interested in watching their video on YouTube as they featured various insightful panels.
WFD also held another live event called “Sign Languages are for Everyone.” It was a gathering of high-level experts from the WFD, UNOG (United Nations Office Of Geneva) and State-Parties. The purpose of this webinar is to raise awareness and empower state parties on the importance of sign languages. This webinar also aims to guide state parties on what they can undertake to achieve and provide sign languages to everyone.
For more information about this event, head to their Facebook event page.
To close out the International Week Of The Deaf People, the WFD hosted another live event to discuss Deaf arts and Culture. Excitingly, this event hosted performances from a select group of deaf artists from around the world. The event was presented by an international panel who will share their experiences with Deaf arts and culture.
For more information, head to the Facebook event page.
With 1 in 6 Australians experiencing hearing loss, the International Week Of The Deaf people is one that is truly important. You can show your support by visiting their online pages, or perhaps you’re able to donate directly to the WFD, which you can do at any time of year via this link: https://wfdeaf.org/donate/.
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