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Makaton: Language through Silence

Makaton was an International Service initiative conducted on the occasion of International Sign Language day i.e 23rd September 2020, taken by the Rotaract Club of Sathaye College in collaboration with Rotaract Club of Mumbai Nariman Point, Rotaract Club of Mumbai Wadala East, Rotaract Club of Northern Suburbs and Rotaract Club of Bombay Pier. It was a workshop to teach the basics of sign language.

Sign language is a way of communication using hand gestures, which are visually read by people unable to hear or speak. Sign languages are unique and independent of spoken languages. International Day of Sign Languages is observed every year on September 23, to celebrate the diversity of people and make sure no one is left behind because of hearing or speaking challenges. The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 23 September as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realisation of the human rights of people who are deaf.

Rotaract Club of Sathaye College (RCSC) approached various Rotaract clubs for collaboration and did a lot of pre-event marketing. This was primarily done by their board of directors and the core team. Each club that collaborated on this event committed to bring 15 or more participants individually. The pictures and the PR message were posted on RCSC's social media pages and the official pages of other 4 clubs as well. RCSC conducted a small PR activity on the story of their Instagram handle for the workshop.

The workshop was conducted by Ms Arti Umrotkar, The past president of Bombay Deaf Club of Women, who taught us the basics of sign language along with her interpreter. The speaker signified “What is World Deaf Week” and “Why it is Important to raise awareness” regarding the same.

The workshop which was held virtually on the 23rd of September 2020 from 6PM to 7PM hosted over 140 attendees. It was led by an informative duo - an interpreter and a signalling artist.

The interpreter explained the different actions that the signalling artist was making. She taught us various things like the colours, the family tree, how to signify various types of bags along with some Basic Greetings. Besides this, she also taught us how to communicate "Indian Sign Language".

Throughout the session, they jubilantly edified us what each hand sign signified in dactylology and how communication works with people who are auditorily impaired. Rotaractors, non-Rotaractors, Rotarians and DCMs attended the event. It concluded with an interactive activity - a question and answer session - where participants asked questions that were insightfully explained by the interpreter and Miss Arti.

We thank both of the instructors from the bottom of our hearts for introducing us to the world of sign languages where we will be able to be more compassionate to our differently abled friends.

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