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Savez-vous que septembre est le mois de la sensibilisation à la surdité ?



Yes, here we are again! For the uninitiated, know that September is International Deaf Awareness Month. And at the same time, a chance to make our voices heard.

Sponsored by the World Federation of the Deaf, representative of the international deaf community officially recognized by the UN, the event was originally isolated and called World Deaf Day in 1958 . Over time, this day turned into World Deaf Week. It is organized throughout the last week of September. A quick Google search will actually tell you that there is a huge disparity in the timing.

Local, regional and national organizations have often chosen different days or weeks, or even the entire month, as the period of recognition ! In South Africa, the officially recognized dates by the government are from August 29 to September 4; the event is therefore technically already closed. It doesn’t really matter. Because what matters above all is that awareness-raising is at the heart of our priorities!

The goal of this month (day or week, it doesn’t matter!) Is to increase people’s awareness of deafness as well as the culture and challenges of deaf people . Sign language, subtitled programs, accessibility to events, awareness of noise, safety at work, deaf personalities … We have so much to share!

Read also: How I changed my attitude towards my hearing loss

What you can do to help raise awareness

I strongly encourage you to take action to raise awareness of hearing loss. You can try to make your colleagues understand the difficulties that we have to overcome, to teach sign language to children in schools, to make posters for your local library. If this raises awareness and opens people’s eyes to our disability, get started! Our worst enemy is not the evil people who seek to put us down (let’s be honest, there are fewer and fewer of them and they would use any pretext to humiliate others). No, our worst enemy is simply ignorance. If people don’t help us, it’s just because they don’t know how. Logical, right?

« … If this helps raise awareness and open people’s eyes to our disability, get started! « 

So go ahead and get creative in spreading the good word!

Last year I had the chance to work with the Cell C Sharks rugby team and shoot a video.

Not everyone has the opportunity to do things as complex as this, but every stone contributes to the building. I will present a montage at the school where I work and continue to watch for any opportunity that presents itself.

During his inauguration as the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela quoted Marianne Williamson. His message was clear: go ahead. Shine. Find courage in the words of a man who endured 27 years in prison to inspire his fellow citizens and encourage them to build a nation. Show the world what we can do.

What are you doing to help raise awareness this month? Tell us all about it on social media or by writing a comment below!

References :

A Return to Love  : Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles , Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3 (pp. 190-191)

Mark was discovered to have severe hearing loss - total loss in his left ear, severe in the right - at the age of 3, owing to a Cytomegalovirus infection. He grew up as part of the mainstream community, and only started regularly wearing hearing aids at the age of 15, when his hearing loss dropped to profound levels. Rugby has always been a passion of his, and he's never stopped playing since getting his first opportunity in high school. His greatest claim to fame is playing for the South African Deaf Rugby team, a position he also uses to advocate for the Deaf community. However, he is afflicted with an interest in anything and everything, which manifests in limitless Star Wars puns, comments on the things making up the fabric of society, requests for your favourite banana bread recipes, a predilection for painting 28mm sci-fi models and the inability to fit into any of the proverbial descriptive "boxes" society likes to place people in. He currently lives in Durban with his wife, Amy.