Friendships made at the 4th WFDYS Camp are long-lasting: read below to find out why!
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Although the camp lasted a week, the campers who arrived at the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section (WFDYS) Children’s Camp left with lifelong friendships. 46 campers participated from 15 different countries at the camp in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from the 8th to the 14th of April.
“This space was the first time they have had an opportunity to play, converse and to be themselves with other deaf children of their age,” WFDYS President Mark said. “A whole new world has been opened for them, and it is always a delight to see that.”
Mark and the other leaders worked hard to make sure that every camper understood what was going on. Each camper had a leader from their same home country to help facilitate communication. What is most important, however, is the use of sign language at this camp.
“Sign language is the easiest way to communicate with each other. It is always beautiful to see the campers use various national sign languages and international sign to communicate with each other,” Mark said. “Seeing the campers understanding each other despite coming from a different linguistic and cultural background is really heartwarming.”
Mark himself participated in the camp thirteen years ago and says that he keeps in contact with the campers he met there. He says that this camp is important not only for meeting deaf peers, but also to inspire the campers to advocate for themselves.
“It is easy to accept inequality if you think it is the norm,” he said. “When they meet deaf people from other countries they realise how different and how much better their lives could be if they advocated for their rights, especially with sign language access.”
These campers go home inspired by their experience at this camp, and with new connections across the world to help advocate for their human rights. Mark says that these deaf youth are often motivated to work to improve the living conditions of deaf people in their home countries, and are now armed with the vision to work towards this goal.
As always, by the end of the camp, tears were shed. The campers became close friends over the course of this camp, and many go back to countries where they do not have the same access to language. However, Mark remains optimistic about the outcome of this camp.
“It is very important to remember that the children and youth are our future, and what we teach them is how we will shape our future,” he said. “We need to be good teachers, to include them, and allow space for them share their opinions. We are a part of a diverse community: we are a linguistic and cultural minority and proud of it!”
“Together we can change the world. We are the leaders of tomorrow’s generation, and the children’s camp helps them learn to fight for their rights. They are our future, and it is important that every single deaf people knows and understands their human rights. “
For more information, please go to http://dj.cas.org.ar/camp2018/ .
To support the work of the WFD and the WFDYS in fighting for the human rights of deaf children everywhere, please click here to donate.