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International Day of Sign Languages

A white poster with 3 pictures showing the letters B, S and L written in British Sign Language. Above the pictures there is text that reads: Internation Day of Sign Languages. Our Stories. Underneath the pictures is Mauda's website link:

What a busy week! We finished our latest collection, managed to get product photography sorted and we’re currently working on the final details before uploading everything to Our Collection. So, watch this space. We’ll be taking a small break from next week to recharge as well as work on a few other things to expand our range. Exciting times and very timely as well. After the fabulous Mat Gala designs, it was time for London Fashion Week (LFW) to treat us with another feast of creativity. In case you missed it, this year LFW had an entire wheelchair collection brought to us by Faduma’s Fellowship. It’s great to see inclusion materialising across the industry. And on the topic of inclusion, tomorrow is International Day of Sign Languages!

Earlier this year, along with my first steps into braille, I started learning sign language. Obviously online due to lockdown and eventually work took over, so I really only learned the basic of the basics. However, I’m keen to learn and now have a weekly schedule to resume the sign language classes. And to spark your interest as well, this week’s blog is about the International Day of Sign Languages.

What is Sign Language?

Although structurally distinct from spoken languages, sign languages are natural languages and these differ from country to country. However, there is an international sign language, used by deaf people in an international context, for instance for work meetings or simply when touring different locations. This is less complex version of sign language to facilitate communication.

Why an International Day of Sign Languages?

The World Federation of the Deaf estimates there are over 70 million deaf people worldwide and more than 300 different sign languages. The International Day of Sign Languages was established in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf. The 23rd September celebrates the date when the World Federation of the Deaf was established in 1951.  Thought going through my mind now: Why aren’t sign languages part of the language offering in school curriculums?

The Theme

The International Day of Sign Languages theme for 2021 is “We Sign For Human Rights,” to remind us how both deaf and hearing people can work together to promote the recognition of our right to use sign languages in all areas of life.

Where to learn Sign Language

There is plenty of online content to learn British Sign Language (BSL). The book British Sign Language for Dummies is ideal for starters. I started some basics with videos on YouTube by Commanding Hands – very easy to follow for anyone just starting! Adaptista is running Sign Language Fridays on LinkedIn where they share the American and British Sign Language for a different word each week. Check them out, the videos are great! If you’re looking for a course, then the now has a plan where you pay what you can. The University of Edinburgh currently has a BSL online course starting from the 4th / 5th October – worth checking (I’ve already signed up by the way)!

I don’t know about you, but I do think that just like foreign languages are part of the curriculum, so should the national sign language be. It’s relevant that we know how to communicate in our own language in whatever form that takes. Otherwise, how can we say we are truly inclusive? Are you convinced yet? If not, I’ll be writing about my experience anyway, so hopefully I’ll spark an interest soon. Enjoy your week!

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