Join the WFD and take your friend along to become an individual member!

Hello! My name is Signmark. I am a rap artist from Finland with a Master’s degree in education.

In this video I would like to tell you briefly why it is so important to become an individual member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). The more we are the better the activities of the WFD can be maintained and developed.

I always like to emphasize the fact that deaf people are a linguistic and cultural group. Compared to other groups of persons with disabilities our rights are poorly materialised because of lack of information in sign language. For example the emergency population warnings are provided in spoken language only.

In its work and public statements WFD highlights the importance of bilingual education system and supports its member organisations in their endeavors to achieve quality education for all deaf children. However, illiteracy still continues to be a serious problem which can frequently lead to marginalisation from the society.

I come from a deaf family and I have always studied in schools where sign language has been used. However, many deaf children are not as lucky as I have been: they are often discriminated and a small minority of them has access to school. If they are admitted they easily stay isolated from the hearing teachers and school mates being forced to stay in their silent world. Without sign language and good education I wouldn’t have gotten this far.

One of WFD’s biggest challenges at the moment is to distribute information and guidance to its members on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We cannot promote our rights if we don’t know them.

Thanks to my self-confidence, networking and strong cooperation with others my dreams have come true. WFD, together with its member organisations, uses these same methods aiming at the realisation of our dreams. It is able to influence the state of matters through its wide international networks and close relationship with many organisations.

WFD highlights the prerequisite for strong national deaf associations. Well-built and resourceful associations can better advance the national human rights situation, with the assistance provided by the WFD. The WFD alone cannot monitor the realisation of deaf human rights all over the world. Without sufficient funding and active members the WFD won’t be able to do its work.

I used to say: “Besides my family there are still a lot of people that I have to bring together.” I hope that the example of my music uniting the deaf, the hearing, the young and the old encourages those people who care for the human rights of the deaf to join the WFD. Become an individual member and bring your friends too. Let’s work together to keep the WFD an active and powerful organisation.