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Signalling change through sign language

Aparna Karthik, DH News Service, Bengaluru, Jun 26 2017, 2:11 IST
Volunteers take part in 'siGnAthon - a silent human chain,' to create awareness on the needs of the disabled and to teach people sign language to mark the birth anniversary of Helen Keller at Koramangala on Sunday. dh photo

Volunteers take part in 'siGnAthon - a silent human chain,' to create awareness on the needs of the disabled and to teach people sign language to mark the birth anniversary of Helen Keller at Koramangala on Sunday. dh photo

Raman, a bank professional, was one of the many volunteers who formed a human chain to create awareness on the needs of people with hearing disabilities as part of an event on Sunday.

He along with hundreds of volunteers taught sign language to those interested in learning the language. What makes Raman different is that he cannot see and hear. He communicates through signs.

On Sunday, over 150 volunteers including blind, deaf and physically challenged individuals came together to participate in siGnAthon - a silent human chain organised by Giftabled, a city-based organisation that strives to empower people with disabilities.

As part of siGnAthon, the volunteers taught alphabets in sign language to interested public. The volunteers formed a silent human chain that began from Forum Signal and ended at National Games Village wherein they interacted with each other in signs and taught the same to those interested.

langu“The deaf face daily struggles while commuting, to go to police station, to ask for help or any activity that requires communication. There is a serious lack of interpreters in the city which adds to their struggles. The idea behind hosting this event is to help people learn the basics of sign language so that we can create a pool of interpreters who can help the deaf in times of need," said R Nataraja, a sign age trainer who works with Giftabled.

Chandramouli Sastry is a sign language trainer who is deaf. Sastry works with the Indian Air Force and spends his free time teaching English to deaf students at Adarsh College in Chamarajpet. “It was a wonderful experience to teach the language to the volunteers and the public today. It helps us feel on a par with others,” said Sastry through the medium of sign language.

“It was a eye-opening event for us, where we learnt the sign language and interacted with the deaf volunteers and the public through signs,” said Darshan Ranganath ,a software professional who volunteered at the event.

Not just the public, even the traffic wardens came forward to learn the sign language so that they could help a deaf person if they came across one.

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