International Week of the Deaf and NZ Sign Language Week are celebrated annually, during 21-27 September, through various activities and events by Deaf Communities worldwide and the aim is to promote human rights for deaf people, and to provide a platform for them to tell their stories and have their voices heard.
In recognition, here is the story of 17-year-old Alilander, from Papua New Guinea, who was born deaf and struggled to communicate with his family for many years. Thankfully, through support from people like you, inclusive education teachers from cbm-funded partner Callan Services, met him and his family when they visited his village. Alilander was able to attend early intervention classes where he learnt basic Melanesian sign language and how to read, and was supported to enrol in school. Alilander for many years felt left out, so was thrilled to sit in a classroom for the first time among other children his age with a sign language interpreter to assist with class work. The inclusive education teacher even taught his classmates basic sign. Alilander lip-reads and loves to socialize with his friends at school.
Alilander's life has been completely transformed. He can now lip-read and loves to socialise with his friends at school. He is very helpful at home with cooking, and takes his two younger brothers to their classroom before heading to school himself. Alilander also takes part in church services by writing on paper to announce which hymn will be sung next. Papua New Guinea has recently developed their own national sign language which Alilander may choose to learn in the future. In the meantime, he is studying for his senior examinations and thinking about a career.
Thank you for caring for people like Alilander and for helping to break the cycle of poverty and disability.