Event in Hanoi aimed at raising awareness of need for young deaf children to learn sign language.
Around 300 people, including deaf children and their families, deaf adults, and those who care about the deaf community, attended the first sign language flashmob in Vietnam at the “Family Fun Day - The Beautiful Hands” event in Hanoi on December 13.
The event was organized by the Intergenerational Deaf Education Project (IDEO) as part of a series of activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of sign language in the early education of deaf pre-school children.
“My family and I have listened to many stories, met a lot of deaf children, and learned sign language,” said singer Hoang Bach, the Goodwill Ambassador of the event. “Watching their performances on stage with their own language, as a father and a teacher I was so touched. I could feel their happiness as well as their parent’s belief in their future. They are as smart and as loveable as other children, they just use a different language.”
Those at the Family Fun Day also heard touching stories from parents about their journey in supporting their deaf children by learning and communicating with them by sign language.
Thanks to such stories those in attendance gained a better understanding of deaf children and their families and could also recognize the role sign language plays in the early education of deaf children.
In Vietnam around 15,500 children under six of age are deaf or hearing impaired. Most do not have access to early childhood education and their parents lack professional support.
“Lacking access to sign language education in the first six years of life can hinder the ability of deaf children to develop to their potential and approach education and social integration opportunities in the future”, said Ms. Le Thi Kim Cuc, Program Manager of the IDEO Project.
Implemented from 2011 to 2016, the project is funded by the Japanese Social Development Fund, managed by the World Bank and implemented by the World Concern Development Organization and the Ministry of Education and Training.
This is the first and, to date, the only project in Vietnam targeting pre-school age deaf children. The project has provided home-based sign language education to 255 deaf children under six years of age in four Vietnamese cities and provinces - Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Thai Nguyen, and Quang Binh - to prepare them for formal schooling.
“For pre-school deaf children their homecare is the environment where they interact the most and learn the very first things about life,” said Ms. Vu Lan Anh, educational specialist and IDEO project team leader at the World Bank in Vietnam. “Parents should support their children in this period to help them have the best preparation possible for Grade 1.”