Josephine O. Edwards
Guest Writer, The Xpress Train

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) reveals that deaf people number about 72 million and sign languages number over 300 globally. What most people do not know is that sign language is recognized as a natural full-fledged language. Yes, you read that right.

The International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) celebrates all kinds of sign languages. It serves to not only raise awareness about deaf people but to also recognize the uniqueness of deaf people all over the world. 

History of the IDSL

The World Federation of the Deaf, (WFD) was established on the 23rd of September 1951. It represents over a hundred national level associations of deaf people. Therefore, it is only fitting that the IDSL is celebrated annually on the 23rd of September.

First celebrated in 2018, the day is still one of the newer celebratory days. This does not in any way diminish its importance. The entire day is geared towards raising awareness about deaf people as well as celebrating all types of sign languages. 

Each IDSL comes with its own theme. 2018’s theme was “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included.” The theme in 2019 was “Sign Language, Rights for All!”

2020’s theme will be ““Reaffirming Deaf People’s Human Rights.” The main goal for this year’s theme is to promote and secure the human rights of deaf people everywhere. 

Celebrating IDSL

Now that you know about International Day of Sign Language, how do you celebrate it? There are several ways you can go about celebrating.

  • You could go about learning a sign language. I recommend the international sign language since it is the common tongue for all sign languages. This would be an excellent way to show support to all deaf people.
  • You can also try raising awareness. Whether it’s a hangout session or a seminar, raise awareness about the day. Let others know about the number of deaf people and the sign languages we have.
  • Providing others with proper education about deafness is another way to celebrate. While being deaf is a disability, it doesn’t make deaf people any less human. Educate others about their rights, way of life, and any other thing you can think of. 
  • You can also consider events like fundraisers or bake sales. The type of charity event doesn’t matter, what matters is the goal. Raise donations and awareness to help spread the word about sign languages to everyone around you.