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