International Week of the Deaf 2011

It is again that time of the year when deaf people around the world gather together to commemorate the International Week of the Deaf.

This year the International Week of the Deaf is celebrated from 19 to 25 September. Deaf Associations throughout the world organise events, marches, campaigns and meetings to highlight current topics that they wish to be addressed by local or national authorities. Their aim is to direct the attention of decision makers, general public, and media to the problems and concerns deaf persons face and make them understand that deaf people have human rights too! So the International Week of the Deaf is all about getting together, feeling united and powerful and showing that force to the rest of the world. This week also increases solidarity among deaf people and their supporters and is used as a way to stimulate greater efforts to promote the rights of deaf people.

For the past couple of years the World Federation of the Deaf has introduced a theme to the deaf community for its celebration. In 2009 we demonstrated to the general public our cultural achievements and last year the focus was directed to deaf education. This year we would like to encourage you to tackle problems that are related to accessibility to information and communications. Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information is strongly emphasised in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in articles 9 and 21. We urge our national members to choose one, two or more issues that are related to this theme and make a campaign around it. The concrete troubles that deaf people face might vary from country to country and priorities change too but the root causes are the same: information, services and education are not available in sign language and interpreter services are poor, non-existent or too expensive which hinders deaf people’s participation in society as equal citizens.

If you are not 100% sure what you can do with regard the accessibility theme you can have a look at the following article (“This year’s theme: Accessibility, freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information”) which presents more concrete ideas. If you have already decided to use another theme for this year don’t worry either. This is perfectly fine too.

We would like to report in the next issue of the WFD newsletter how the International Week went and what your association did? We would be very happy if you could send us some photos and/or short articles of your celebrations to info@wfdeaf.org. The dead line for these submissions is October 20th.

WFD wishes cheerful International Week of the Deaf to all of you!

This year’s theme: Accessibility, freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information