International Day of Sign Languages

During the celebration of the International Day of Sign Languages, the world highlights the unity generated by our sign languages. Deaf communities, governments and civil society organizations maintain their collective efforts – hand in hand – to foster, promote and recognize national sign languages as part of their countries’ vibrant diversity. 


The Facts

The International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.

The International Week of the Deaf was first celebrated in September 1958 and has since evolved into a global movement of deaf unity and concerted advocacy to raise awareness of the issues deaf people face in their everyday lives.

The choice of 23 September commemorates the date that the World Federation of the Deaf WFD was established in 1951. This day marks the birth of an advocacy organization, which has as one of its main goals, the preservation of sign languages and deaf culture as pre-requisites to the realization of the human rights of deaf people.

According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are more than 70 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80% of them live in developing countries. Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.

Sign languages are fully fledged natural languages, structurally distinct from the spoken languages. There is also an international sign language, which is used by deaf people in international meetings and informally when traveling and socializing. It is considered not as complex as natural sign languages and has a limited lexicon.

2022 theme is “build inclusive communities for all”


How to Observe

Learn a sign language: Learning sign language is one of the greatest ways to commemorate this day! There are several excellent resources available online to assist you with this. Learning to welcome someone in sign language may make a huge impact. Consider how fantastic you might make someone feel by simply going out of your way to learn their language and greeting them in a way that they can comprehend.

Join in creating awareness: Raising awareness is another way to commemorate International Day of Sign Languages! Many individuals are unaware of the many sign languages. They are also unaware of the number of people who rely on sign languages throughout the world. On this day, take it upon yourself to educate others.

Host a fundraising event: There are several ways to get involved, ranging from bake sales to sponsored races. Events are an excellent way to raise funds while also spreading the word about sign languages. You should also make use of social media to generate interest in the event you’re planning.


Resources

World Federation of the Deaf

International Day of Sign Languages: United Nations

Sign Languages for Beginners


Activities

Zoom Backgrounds
Virtual backgrounds are one of the easiest ways to spread awareness about sign languages! You can replace your normal backdrop with one below to encourage others to take take action during International Day of Sign Languages in any Zoom meeting you have!

Right-click the image then save as to your computer. Open your Zoom application and update your background to the file you saved from this page.

Social Media

Make a post to celebrate International Day of Sign Languages, or about something new that you learned about sign languages. You can post a picture or video that you take or can us the graphic below. Don’t forget to tag us!

Right-click the image then save as to your computer. Open your social media application to post.

Tag and follow us on Social!