The theme of the congress was ‘Sign Languages and Human Rights’, looking at various areas that affect Deaf people’s life ranging from Human rights, linguistic & culture; Sign Languages; Education; Technology; Mental Health; Women, CODA, Youth, Older people, Deafblind people, BME (Black & minorities ethnic) communities and many more.
Sabina have been networking with so many people on local, national and international level and met Markku Jokinen, President of the World Federation of the Deaf during the conference, highlighting the needs of Deaf parents and pressing for Deaf parents to be recognised as a key priority for WFD in the same way as CODA, Women, Youth, Education and Mental health.
Sabina also recognised the uniqueness of Deaf Parenting UK as a national organisation in UK. She checked with other countries and there were none like DPUK apart from small projects here and there, but not a formal organisation of Deaf parents for Deaf parents. It shows on how important for Deaf Parenting UK to present itself as a good model for other countries across the world on enabling confidence, supporting and empowering Deaf parents.
The next congress will take place in Durban, South Africa in 2011. Watch this space.
What is WFD?
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) is an international non-governmental organisation comprising national associations of Deaf people. It watches over the interests of more than 74 million Deaf people worldwide -more than 80% of them live in developing countries, where authorities are rarely familiar with their needs or desires.
Currently, the WFD has a membership of 127 national associations from the five continents worldwide.
Recognised by the United Nations (UN) as their spokes-organisation, WFD works closely with the UN and its various agencies in promoting the human rights of Deaf people in accordance with the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other general acts and recommendations of the UN and its specialised agencies. When necessary, WFD uses special, legal or administrative measures to ensure that Deaf people in every country have the right to preserve their own sign languages, organisations, and cultural and other activities.
WFD have national members from 127 countries, of which each representing their country. National members convene in a General Assembly every four years in conjunction with the World Congress.
The General Assembly elects the Board and approves the WFD action plan for the following four years. The Board is the responsible body for implementing those policies approved by the General Assembly.
WFD activities are conducted according to these principles:
- To promote the status of national Sign Languages.
- To improve Deaf education.
- To improve access to information.
- To claim for Deaf human rights in developing countries.
- To promote the establishment of Deaf organisations where none currently exist.
The importance of the WFD is vital since it allows cohesion among all entities of Deaf people in the world. Likewise, this organisation strives for solidarity towards millions of Deaf people from Countries whose political and economic situation deprives them from exercising their rights to sign language; and equal opportunity in all spheres of life, including access to education and information…
For these reasons, all Deaf people must become acquainted with WFD work and support it, because it is through union and commitment that we will get a freer world.
What does it means for Deaf Parents?
The principle of Human Rights and sign language means that at local level, we need to work together to ensure that Deaf parents have access to education, parenting information and enjoy their human rights as Deaf person and as a parent where they are entitled to enjoy family lives and need to have access to information/services without any barriers and discrimination.
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