International Week of the Deaf | Equality for Deaf People

It is again that time of the year when deaf people around the world gather together with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) to celebrate International Week of the Deaf.

International Week of the Deaf is celebrated annually by deaf people worldwide during the last full week of September.  Our 133 national associations of the deaf organise events, marches, debates, campaigns and meetings to highlight specific human rights topics that merit attention by local and national governmental authorities, including decision makers, general public and media.

International Week of the Deaf is about gathering together, becoming united and showing that unity to the rest of the world. The International Week of Deaf also increases solidarity among deaf people and allies and is used as a way to stimulate greater efforts to promote the rights of deaf people.

International Week of the Deaf activities also welcome the involvement of parents and families of deaf people, interpreters, professionals who work with deaf people and government officials.

For last several years the WFD identified yearly themes for International Week of the Deaf celebrations:

2009                    Deaf people’s cultural achievements

2010                    Deaf education

2011                    Accessibility to information and communications

2012                    Sign Bilingualism is a Human Right!

2013              Equality for Deaf People


This year’s theme focuses on equality for deaf people, amongst deaf people and promoted by deaf people. Equality for Deaf People recognises contributions by deaf people to global prosperity, human rights of all deaf people, and preparation of deaf communities worldwide for future challenges.

Equality for Deaf People celebrates the linguistic, artistic, social, political and cultural contributions and accomplishments of deaf people. This theme also focuses on recognition of sign languages and the rights of deaf people around the world. Focus on Equality for Deaf People also prepares us to look towards the future with a clear vision with renewed energies for creating positive change in local communities worldwide.

International Week of the Deaf provides an excellent opportunity to share and discuss ways to promote collaboration on equality for deaf people based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).


The WFD urges national members to choose one, two or more issues that are related to this year’s theme in observing International Week of the Deaf.  This could involve issues related to language recognition, educational rights, attitudes towards a sign bilingual society or awareness raising within the deaf community about their rights as bilingual citizens.  Also, the WFD encourages national associations of the deaf to host fundraising activities or events to support the WFD and its human rights efforts across the globe.

WFD urges national associations of the deaf to review its profile on the WFD Facebook page, and create their own Facebook profile photo, tailor-made for International Week of the Deaf.   The WFD Secretariat will update its Facebook page to include the activities undertaken by national associations of the deaf.


Please share your International Week of the Deaf photos and stories with phillipa.sandholm[at] Interested persons can join WFD as an individual member and thus support WFD’s work.

WFD Wishes a Successful International Week of the Deaf for Everyone!