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Pitopito kōrero

International Week of The Deaf People

20 Sept 2021

Bumping into random people

Two Deaf ladies were holidaying in a remote mountain range in Southern Spain. They had a long day walking about the sleepy, white washed streets, thick texturised carpets slapped over thick stone walls.

Tired, they settled down on some bar stools and ordered some café solo, chatting away. The bar man eyed them and went off to phone someone.

The following morning, fresh after a good night’s sleep, they stepped outside their Casa Rurale. On the street was a man, in a freshly ironed shirt with a big beaming smile. “Sorda?” (Deaf?) he signed.

It turned out that the bar man had a deaf brother in two villages over, and he just had to get him over to meet the two foreign Deaf women so he could have a chat.

The man rarely met other Deaf people and they managed to have a good two-hour chat in International Sign about all sorts of things including what Deaf schools were like in their countries.

This is a common traveling experience that Deaf people encounter worldwide, and it shows the power of connecting with other Deaf people wherever we go.

This week has been held on an international level since the first week in 1958, in Rome, Italy to commemorate the same month the first World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf was held. It has a different focus to a language week, (we have New Zealand Sign Language Week in May). It looks at the common and united experiences Deaf people have all over the world, and the issues that are important to us.

The themes for the IWDP 2021:

  • Monday 20th - Cherishing Deaf History
  • Tuesday 21st - Sustainable Deaf Leadership
  • Wednesday 22nd - Sign languages for All Deaf Learners
  • Thursday 23rd - We Sign for Human Rights
  • Friday 24th - Intersectional Deaf Communities
  • Saturday 25th - Deaf Culture and Arts
  • Sunday 26th - Human Rights in Time of Crisis