There are currently more than 70 million people suffering from hearing disability around the world with an estimate also suggesting that more than 80 per cent of people who are clinically deaf said to exist in the world’s developing nations. While facing several issues that are critical from a social and health perspective in their daily lives, those who are considered clinically deaf also suffer from the lack of legal support or the sense of security that governments of nations are usually expected to provide their citizens, again due to a lack of comprehensive laws to protect the rights of the deaf community.
Reason why the International Day of the Deaf gains relevance.
The International Week of the Deaf (IWD), an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and that culminates in the International Day of the Deaf being commemorated today, was first launched in 1958 in Rome, Italy and is held annually during the last week of September. The WFD later also held its first World Congress in the same month to give the event more relevance on a global scale.
The International Week of the Deaf is celebrated through various activities that hail the initiatives actioned to further the cause of deaf communities worldwide. The events also welcome the participation of all members of deaf communities that include families of deaf people, professional and accredited sign language interpreters and peers, as well as the various stakeholders such as national governments, human rights organisations, and organisations of persons with disabilities.
The theme for the International Week of the Deaf this year was Reaffirming Deaf People’s Human Rights, with a series of events revolving around popularising the use of sign languages and providing equal opportunities to the hearing disabled.