Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saudi Arabia makes effort to teach general public sign language

From Arab News:

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Malls and other public places in Jeddah are hosting the first Saudi campaign that aims to teach members of the public the sign language.

The main goal of the “Amongst Us A Deaf Person” initiative is to increase the awareness about how to interact with the deaf and hard of hearing.

The campaign, organized by the Saudi Association for Hearing Impairment in Makkah province, will also host a number of events and programs to help deaf people interact with the public.

Over half a million copies of Arabic sign language brochures will be distributed.

Campaign manager Bandar Al-Amri, who is also a specialist in sign language and a researcher in hearing impairment, said the campaign aims to combat general illiteracy regarding sign language.

The campaign, he added, is the first of its kind in the Kingdom as it targets everyone. He said it was launched during Ramadan to reach as many people as possible during a traditionally busy shopping month.

Al-Amri called on the public to learn sign language, which he said was essential to achieve effective communication with deaf people.

This, he said, will help in creating a friendly atmosphere for people with hearing disabilities and would help lift their self-esteem.