Teaching sign language key part of special Week

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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PROMOTING SIGN LANGUAGE: Fa’aolo Utumapu-Utailesolo (Coordinator Promotion and Awareness SENESE and Marie Benten-To’alepaiali’i.

PROMOTING SIGN LANGUAGE: Fa’aolo Utumapu-Utailesolo (Coordinator Promotion and Awareness SENESE and Marie Benten-To’alepaiali’i.

“With sign language, I am equal.”

This is the theme of the International Week of the Deaf 2016. The celebration will commence tomorrow.

In preparations for the event, the SENESE Inclusive Education Support Service revealed the activities for the week during a press conference on Friday.

Marie Bentin-Toalepaiali’i, the Director of SENESE, says the theme of this year’s celebration is fitting.

“Next week, we will be having sign language training for selected government ministries and also non-governmental organizations,” she said.

The government ministries include the Public Service Commission (P.S.C), Office of the Electoral Commissioner, Law Reform Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman. 

The two N.G.O’s are the Samoa National Youth Council and the Nuanua ole Alofa. 

“On Wednesday and Thursday, there will be stalls in front of the Government building to sell coffee, tea, water, and other items and people are asked to use sign language to make their orders.”

And that’s not all.

For the first time, the SENESE deaf services will be conducting Deaf and sign language awareness for staff and passengers on the lady Samoa Ferry, on Wednesday at 10am at the Mulifanua wharf. 

“The awareness is to educate our community about the basic signs for when buying tickets, and how to sign ‘please’ and thank-you.”

“The purpose of this is mainly to empower the people who are deaf to use the ferry also for staff and the public to feel comfortable and confident to support persons who are deaf.”

A ‘sip and sign morning tea’ event will be held on Thursday everyone is invited to order coffee, water, niu or tea using sign languages from the selected café’s. 

They are Coffee Bean, Bean Central, BNHQ, Home Café and Krush. 

On Friday 23rd, an open day and forum will be held at the S.T.A fale to close the international deaf week.

“This will be an opportunity for our people to witness and see people who are deaf in action, as they sign, act and perform based on the theme,” said Marie. 

Marie wanted to thank all the people and organizations who have offered their support to make the celebration possible.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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