Talk Sign Campaign gathers momentum

Talk Sign Ambassadors, Shelley Ferreira and Riona Jagathpal.
Talk Sign Ambassadors, Shelley Ferreira and Riona Jagathpal.

LAST week South Africa celebrated Talk Sign Day. The initiative encourages people to learn sign language as well as raise money through the sale of Talk Sign stickers to help educate and find employment for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The goals of the campaign are to fully integrate the Deaf community into schools, social and competitive sports, in the workplace and in all aspects of life and to make South African Sign Language (SASL) South Africa’s 12th official language.

Northglen News recently caught up with Talk Sign ambassadors, Shelley Ferriera and Riona Jagathpal, to find out why this initiative is so important. Ferreira, a Prestondale resident and former Miss Deaf SA was recently chosen as an ambassador for the third year running.

“It’s an important awareness initiative, mainly because the barriers between the hearing and non-hearing world are so vast. We want people to imagine everyday situations as a deaf person and realise the struggles they face to communicate,” Ferreira said. “I feel there is so much more exposure for the Talk Sign campaign this year and it’s been fantastic.”

Jagathpal, an uMhlanga resident and well-known blogger, said this was her first year of being an ambassador.

“I work strongly with campaigns like this on my blog and I was so glad I got involved. This has been life-changing, not just for me but for my family as well. What has been significant for me is getting my children involved. My three-year-old daughter is learning sign language at school and I can see the difference. I feel if we could get kids learning sign at that foundation phase, it would break down the barriers between the hearing and hearing-impaired even further,” she said.

Shiraz Habbib

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