Celebrating the gift of sign languages and inclusion
Wednesday 23 September is a special day for our deaf community – it is the International Day of Sign Languages – the day where we celebrate the gift of sign languages, the natural language of deaf people.
It’s also a day where we give thanks to our supporters, for enabling the vital work of the Ephpheta Centre, which provides pastoral, sacramental and social support for the deaf and hard of hearing.
In recognition of your support, we’d like to share this special message from David Parker, Community Manager for Ephpheta Centre:
Why is this special event on 23rd September? The International Day of Languages was proclaimed by UN General Assembly and that the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was established on 23rd of September 1951.
According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80% of them live in developing countries. Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.
Sign language is the natural language of deaf people. In Australia deaf people use Australian Sign Language which is called “Auslan”. Auslan was recognised by the Australian government as the preferred language of the Deaf community in 1987.
So why is sign language important? With sign language, deaf people can do anything! Education, work, family, faith and friends – with sign language, barriers to communication and access disappear. Sign language is so important to deaf people and all people if we want our world to be inclusive.
Ephpheta Centre is a deaf friendly space and uses Auslan daily for all sorts of activities. We have accessible Catholic services in Auslan. Mass services are interpreted by trained Auslan interpreters. The Ephpheta Centre runs many different activities with inclusion in mind for all deaf and hard of hearing people. The Ephpheta team is proudly Auslan competent!
The Ephpheta team would like to acknowledge the invaluable support of Archdiocese of Sydney, the Diocese of Parramatta and Broken Bay Diocese.
We have made some videos by deaf members of our Ephpheta Community who were interviewed by our team about the use of Auslan in the Ephpheta community and Catholic churches in the past. These two videos are in Auslan. Download the transcript. Enjoy viewing the videos!
May God bless you all.
Everyone should have the opportunity to know and experience the life-giving Word of the Lord.
Without the support of our generous donors, the Ephpheta Centre’s services, and the Auslan language, many of our brothers and sisters who are deaf and hard of hearing would be isolated, unable to interact with socially with others, or able participate actively in their Catholic faith.
We invite you to celebrate inclusion by giving a gift to support the Ephpheta Centre.
Your generosity will bridge barriers to communication and give more people like David, who who are deaf and hard of hearing, increased belonging, independence, and a more inclusive spiritual life.
Thank you for your kind-hearted generosity.