Published: 08th May 2019
Here's how these Bengaluru social workers are teaching sign language to the hearing, one word a day
#SignLanguageMovement is a social media campaign where one sign language word will be posted across social media platforms a day
Imagine being stuck in a place where nobody speaks any language that you understand. You’re desperately trying to make conversation, but the replies that you receive are puzzled expressions. This is exactly what a hearing-impaired person goes through every day.
Why can we not go the extra mile and learn sign language? Now if you’re wondering where to learn it from, all you have to do is follow the #SignLanguageMovement. Through this campaign, Bengaluru-based social workers Vidushi Jayaswal and Vishnu Soman aim to teach sign language to 50,000 Indians by the end of the year. As part of this, Vishnu will put up one word in sign language a day on Instagram. They also conduct public workshops in different cities.
Vidushi also runs SignLab, a social media platform to spread the language and to make people aware of the importance of the language. “SignLab is a programme under Smileys India. It is a social enterprise right now,” says Vidushi. Through SignLab, she also conducts an inclusive gathering at Cubbon Park every third Sunday of the month, where the deaf teach the sign language to the hearing, free of cost. “I got to learn the language from the deaf itself. That was how the idea of the workshop occurred. As part of a community initiative NGO Enable India, we also started sending one sign language word per day to people,” says Vidushi.
Even though Vishnu and Vidushi conduct most of the workshops, they have four hearing-impaired persons in their core team. After conducting a workshop in Canadian International School in March, the duo is now looking to conduct more sessions in schools. “We are so keen on conducting workshops for children. That is the need right now,” she says.
The journey in this field has had its ups and downs, Vidushi admits. The process was slow and time-consuming. But she has no regrets. “It’s wonderful to see so many people coming forward saying that they want to learn the sign language,” she says.