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Apelu Sports celebrates International Deaf Week

Inclusive sports organisation Apelu Sports has called for more awareness and education in order for the community to embrace people living with disability.

To mark the International Week of the Deaf, the organisation posted a sign language video on its various social media platforms which garnered a lot of interest and support from the deaf and hearing impairment community.

Apelu Sports founder and Program Manager, Gabrielle Apelu, said they are marking the International Week of the Deaf as they are a service provider to and partner of the Senese Inclusive Education and Services and Nuanua o le Alofa.

"Apelu Sports is an inclusive sports organisation, we ensure we leave no one behind, including those with disabilities. For the international week of the deaf, we are a service provider for Senese Inclusive Education and Services as well as a partner with Nuanua o le Alofa,” she said.

“Following the Deaf Forum, due to our work with Senese, we were invited to attend and have a session to further strengthen our partnership and to add weight that sports are for everyone and for those who are deaf, it is their human right to be involved.”

Apelu said they have been involved with the deaf community, specifically the students at Senese since August this year. 

"We have been involved with the Deaf community, specifically students at Senese since August 2020. 

“Every week we have sports sessions and so forth. When we were invited by the Deaf Association of Samoa for a session last week, we put together six different team building activities to create a sense of teamwork, cohesion, and support.”

According to Apelu, they have not had any difficulty learning sign language for their social media video, while adding that it is a "beautiful language.” 

"We are also extremely lucky that our disability specialist, Rowena Faaiuaso-Brown, is a sign language interpreter and has been involved in this space for years. 

"Sign language is a beautiful language to learn, just like any other language, it is constant practice and upskilling to ensure that you are proficient in it.”

She further reiterated that the organisation is a firm supporter of people with disabilities and are disappointed when others do not include people with disabilities. 

“The organisation believes it is everyone's duty to educate themselves and learn about other cultures that are different from their own,” she added. 

"From experience, people who look down on those with disabilities do so out of ignorance and fear. Quite often, the community think disability is a disease and distance themselves for fear of catching it. I would advise the community that just like education and learning, it is our duty to also educate ourselves and learn about cultures that are different to ours.”

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