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Deaf Indonesians campaign for education on World Deaf Day

28 September, 2015
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We are proud to share the impressive work of our friends and colleagues in Indonesia, who took to the streets on World Deaf Day yesterday to campaign for deaf children’s access to education.

Members of Solo deaf association campaign on World Deaf Day, 27 September

Members of Solo deaf association campaign on World Deaf Day, 27 September

In Solo (Central Java), the local deaf association announced the theme of their campaign with a banner: “With the right to use sign language, deaf children can”. They highlighted the poor state of existing deaf education in Indonesia, where sign language is banned by almost all teachers in deaf schools, and the curriculum used in these schools is well below the standard of other curricula. They argued that teaching through sign language enables deaf children to learn effectively, and that sign language should be officially recognised by the government.

Indonesians signing the banner to show support for the rights of deaf signers

Indonesians add signatures to the banner to support the rights of deaf signers

Sign language awareness was a key aspect for campaigners in another city, Bekasi (West Java), where activities were led by Muhammad Isnaini, the coordinator of iSLanDS’s Indonesian research hub, PUPET. Using the same theme as their peers in Solo, these campaigners invited passers-by to learn about deaf education and add their signature to the banner. Those who stopped were given the opportunity to learn a few signs from BISINDO (Indonesian Sign Language), and how to fingerspell their name.

A deaf Indonesian boy teaches a hearing peer how to fingerspell in BISINDO

A deaf Indonesian boy teaches a hearing peer how to fingerspell in BISINDO

Muhammad commented: “I am so pleased to see my deaf sisters and brothers getting involved in these activities for World Deaf Day, as this is part of our longer-term aim to improve education for deaf children in our country”. Research fellow Dr. Nick Palfreyman, who leads the work of iSLanDS in Indonesia, added: “It is greatly encouraging to see deaf Indonesians advocating for their rights, and World Deaf Day is the perfect opportunity to do this. A large number of hearing people have shown their support for our campaign in Bekasi and Solo, and these activities have generated significant coverage in the press. We will use this pressure to seek changes to policy”.

Press coverage of activities in Bekasi and Solo

Press coverage of activities in Bekasi and Solo

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