Sign languages are an important part of Europe’s multilingual diversity. An estimated 1 person in 1,000 uses a national sign language as their first language - i.e. about 500,000 people EU-wide. Others may use sign language as a second or third language, for example the family and friends of deaf and hearing-impaired people. Depending on the perception, deafness is considered as a disability or as an enrichment with an own culture. Unfortunately, different studies of partner organizations shows that there are still few people who know that there is one DEAF CULTURE which refers to a group of people who have common beliefs and practices, who have a set of knowledge, experiences, beliefs, specific language, customs and traditions that are transmitted through sign language. The vast majority of people continue to see deafness just as a deficiency. More, there are still few members of Deaf Community who are truly aware of their own cultural identity. To ensure the inclusion of deaf people in European society it's necessary raising the level of awareness for the entire society on this issue, on the hand, and awareness of their own cultural identity by deaf people and active involving in promoting it, on the other hand.
The direct beneficiaries of the project will be Deaf persons, students and adults, aged between 16 and 90 years, who will also participate in the project activities and events. They will be members of Deaf Community from different countries, who identify themselves members of the Deaf Community with a distinct language and culture. At least 500 direct beneficiaries will be involved in project activities and will be realized in total 60 mobilities.
The potential longer term benefits is stipulated in the project goal: to increase the chances of social inclusion for Deaf people by forming and developing the cultural identity for Deaf Community members and making the hearing community be aware of the existence of Deaf Community cultural identity. Our aim is not only to promote the culture of Deaf Community and the Sign Language but also to help the process of developing the Deaf Culture by encouraging its members to create and perform in specific artistic moments, to became active citizens in promoting their own culture.
The project objectives are:
- Promoting Deaf Community Culture in order to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of Deaf Culture and Sign Language by creating and dissemination of a Virtual Cultural Center of the Deaf which contains different cultural products of the Deaf Community and informative multimedia educational materials about Deaf Culture.
- Forming and developing the cultural identity for Deaf Community members by offering accessible information in Sign Language regarding own community culture and encouraging active involvement in creation of new products of entertainment and life long learning for deaf audiences like Sign Language Songs, Sign Language Comedy Shows, other relevant leisure and educational multimedia materials.
The main results and impact envisaged are:
- Educational and entertainment resources for Deaf people: Multimedia Open Educational Resources about Deaf Culture available in four versions (using partners countries Sign Languages) and videos with specific cultural manifestation of Deaf Community;
- "International Virtual Cultural Centre of the Deaf" website that will include all our project results any many other resources in the topic, resources created by partner organizations but by other organizations, too. It will be a "virtual cultural treasure" about Deaf Culture where any interested person/organization will find open educational and entertainment resources, links to other sites, platforms etc.
- Develop the cultural identity and active citizenship skills for Deaf Community members;
- Developing the Deaf Community culture by encouraging its members to create and perform in specific artistic moments;
- Developing a positive attitude, specific for an inclusive society, towards Deaf Community among the hearing people .
These results will be achieved by activities like local/national and transnational trainings, realization and distribution of intellectual outputs, dissemination activities, multiplier events, etc. The following stages are included in our project management methodology: initiation, planning and design, execution, control and integration, validation, closure and ensured of the sustainability. Deaf people will be involved in all project activities. All four partner organizations from four European countries Romania, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland are working with Deaf people.