International Week of the Deaf (IWDeaf) is an annual worldwide initiative to spread awareness and support of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Taking place in the last week of September, the week is about celebrating the rich culture, heritage and languages of all Deaf and hard-of-hearing people and promoting their rights to equal access to education and services.
Sign Language Rights for All!
Each year, IWDeaf is centred around a theme. In 2018, that theme was With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!
This year's theme continues the focus on sign language, by promoting the right to sign language! Access to language, including sign language, is a basic human right and providing access to sign language to people who are Deaf or hard of hearing is vital to their growth and development.
The week is full of events and sponsored activities, which are broken into sub-themes with every day dedicated to a specific issue:
- Monday, 23 September - Sign Language Rights for All!
- Tuesday, 24 September - Sign Language Rights for All Children
- Wednesday, 25 September - Sign Language Rights for Deaf Senior Citizens
- Thursday, 26 September - Sign Language Rights for Deafblind people
- Friday, 27 September - Sign Language Rights for Deaf Women
- Saturday, 28 September - Sign Language Rights for Deaf LGBTIQA+
- Sunday, 29 September - Sign Language Rights for Deaf Refugees
How you can get involved
You can show your support by:
- Sharing the hashtags #IWDeaf2019, #IDSL2019 or #SignLanguagesDay on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and posting official images you can download from the World Federation of the Deaf;
- Learning a few sign language phrases can brighten up someone's day - jump online and make use of the numerous free resources available on ASL, Auslan and BSL (British Sign Language);
- Sharing your story on our Ai-Media Facebook page about your good or bad experiences of Deaf awareness;
- Attending events and activities held by your local Deaf society or association - for example if you're in Australia, Deaf Australia has a number of events on;
- Thinking about how your workplace, school or university can be more inclusive for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people – do you offer equal opportunities? Do you have sign language interpreters? Do you offer closed or real time captioning?