Sign Language in the UAE

Since last year, Feras and Wael Al Moubayed have been giving people in the UAE a chance to learn sign language for free.

It has been pretty successful that the Kuwaiti brothers, who had their studies in the United Kingdom, wish to start a sign language school that will benefit the hearing-impaired. The project—the Al Ayady School—will expand from the UAE to Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Egypt.

Not being able to hear has been an experience for Feras and Wael since they were small. Feras has lost his hearing when he was 2 years old, while Wael has lost his when he was just six months old.

The method used in speaking through hand movements and gestures varies from country to country, though. The Al Ayady School will teach British Sign Language (BSL).

In the neighboring regions, a customized lorry would stop to engage the deaf community. The campaign—Hear Us Sign—aims to raise awareness about the importance of sign language and to help integrate those with hearing disabilities into society.

Bedour Al Raqbani, director and founder of the Kalimati Speech Communication Centre in Mirdif thought of it after failing to find ‘suitable care’ for her hearing-impaired daughter, Noora Al Kaabi, four years ago.

It had gone on for 10 days and had served as a ‘curtain raiser’ to the two-day conference “Hear My Voice – Empowering the Deaf”  held afterwards.

There are no statistics about the prevalence of deafness and hearing disabilities in the UAE. The World Health Organization (WHO), however, counts 360 million people—more than 5% of the world’s total population—that have disabling hearing loss.

“‘Our research has shown that to give deaf children the best chance of successful language acquisition, it is important that they are exposed to a sign language from a very young age.” ~Kearsy Cormier of the Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the expertvillage

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